20/10/2016 1:38 PM AEDT | Updated 20/10/2016 2:26 PM AEDT

Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite Bill Stays Alive, For Now

A Labor move to for an immediate free vote in parliament has failed.

Andrew Meares, Fairfax
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten passes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to vote against the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill

CANBERRA -- The Turnbull Government's doomed same-sex marriage plebiscite is moved along the path towards its likely death, with its enabling legislation passing the House of Representatives.

A short time ago, the government won the vote on the legislation 76-to-67.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh was caught on the hop and had to run into the House for the series of votes Thursday on the plebiscite bill.

Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh arrives in running gear for a division on the Plebiscite Bil

The legislation for the proposed February 11 popular vote now heads to the Senate where Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team have vowed to block it.

Despite Government warnings that marriage equality could be delayed for years, the opposition parties are united in concern about the plebiscite's cost, non-binding nature and the potential harm of a divisive and heated "yes" and "no" campaign.

Alex Ellinghausen, Fairfax
Liberal MP Tim Wilson and Independent MP Bob Katter during a division on the Plebiscite Bill

Earlier, an amendment put forward by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to stop the plebiscite and move to an immediate free vote in parliament on same sex marriage was lost 75-to-68.

Independent MP Cathy McGowan voted with Labor for a free vote, but later voted with the Government for the plebiscite legislation.

Greens MP Adam Bandt is on paternal leave and was absent for the vote.

The Senate resumes on November 7.

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