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Australian MPs are doubtful about gay marriage

(Editor's note: Several Australian states are debating marriage equality, including Tasmania, regardless of what Parliament decides to do. This could set up in Australia a similar situation as in the U.S., where some states legalize same-sex marriage and others do not.)

CANBERRA, Australia -- A two-hour debate over a same-sex marriage bill in the Australian parliament today indicated that there is not enough support to change the law.

MPs from across the political spectrum expressed doubt over the passing of the bill, despite many saying that they support it.

Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull said he would vote for legalizing gay marriage if he was allowed to vote freely on the issue, but leader of the opposition Tony Abbott has said all Liberal-National coalition MPs must vote against the bill.

"The whole issue drips with hypocrisy and I have to say that the pools are deepest at the feet of the sanctimonious," Turnbull said at the debate in the House of Representatives.

Labor MPs are allowed to vote freely on the issue but several are not supporting it, including chief whip Joel Fitzgibbon and the prime minister Julia Gillard.

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