The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal Senator David Fawcett, which means they failed.

What did these amendments do?

Senator Fawcett explained that:

During the Senate select committee the issue of chaplains in the Defence Force, who have traditionally conducted marriages for servicemen overseas, came up. Whilst the initial discussion went to the fact that they are employees of the government and therefore should just carry out the law according to the civil definition of marriage, what became clear during evidence presented to the Senate select committee was that they are in fact appointed to that role by their respective denominations and therefore should and in fact do enjoy the same exemptions that apply to a minister of religion. That was accepted by the Senate report and indeed accepted by Senator Smith in his bill.

The workaround that the committee decided on was that the Chief of the Defence Force, if he had a force deployed overseas, should be able to appoint an officer to conduct weddings if there was a member of the Defence Force overseas who was going to get married. The purpose of this amendment is purely to recognise that, just as the Defence Force when it appoints somebody makes sure they have the relevant competence to do the task, the individual officer has the same human right under article 18 to their freedom of religion and belief. Therefore, the practical effect of this amendment would be that, before the CDF made that appointment, they would ask the officer concerned if they were happy to conduct same-sex weddings. If they were, the appointment would go ahead. If they weren't, because they do have that individual right to freedom of religion and belief, the CDF would make the appointment of another officer who was happy to do that.

As the bill currently stands, the CDF can make that appointment without taking regard of the individual's conscientious objection. Bear in mind that, unlike someone who works in a registry office, where this is the purpose they were employed for, in this case the officer of the Defence Force is employed in either the Air Force, the Navy or the Army for the primary purpose of conducting military operations, and this is a secondary duty. So the operational effect of this amendment would be that the Defence chief would need to check that the officer they wanted to appoint was happy to conduct same-sex marriage, and in that case that person would be appointed.

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

Votes Not passed by a modest majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives Yes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Andrew Bartlett Queensland No
Richard Di Natale Victoria No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Nick McKim Tasmania No
Lee Rhiannon NSW No
Janet Rice Victoria No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Jordon Steele-John WA No
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania No
Australian Labor Party (92% turnout) 0 Yes 23 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Anthony Chisholm Queensland No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Sam Dastyari NSW No
Don Farrell SA No
Alex Gallacher SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Chris Ketter Queensland No
Kimberley Kitching Victoria No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Murray Watt Queensland No
Penny Wong SA No
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Absent
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Absent
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party No
Sue Lines WA Deputy President No
Lucy Gichuhi SA Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Yes
James McGrath Queensland Yes
Liberal Party (90% turnout) 13 Yes 5 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Slade Brockman WA Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
James Paterson Victoria Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Zed Seselja ACT Yes
Simon Birmingham SA No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Marise Payne NSW No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Dean Smith WA No
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (67% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Absent
Nick Xenophon Team (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Stirling Griff SA No
Rex Patrick SA No
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Peter Georgiou WA Yes
Pauline Hanson Queensland Yes
Fraser Anning Queensland Absent
Brian Burston NSW Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President Absent
Totals (86% turnout) 20 Yes – 42 No