On Thursday morning, Australian parliament held the vote that would legalise the marriage equality bill. The bill passed its third reading with only four members of parliament (3 from Coalition MPs, 1 independent) in opposition.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke to the house saying “Every Australian had their say and they said ‘it’s fair, get on with it’.”
The leader of the opposition added, “I say to LGBTQI Australians in particular, you have given us a gift. This parliament when we passed marriage equality law is not a gift from us to LGBTQI Australians, equality is never a gift to be given, equality is an inalienable birthright of every Australian and this equality is long overdue.”
"What a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it" – @TurnbullMalcolm. "Australia we are going to make marriage equality a reality in minutes" – @BillShortenMP. #marriageequality #auspol #7News pic.twitter.com/uIChPEOWfv
— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) December 7, 2017
This comes after years of political and public debate, notably in 2004 when two women were among a number of couples who brought a legal case to have their marriage recognised in Australia. In response to this, Australia introduced a bill to exclude them.
There has been intense public debate and protests from both sides since and it has been widely known that most Australians have long been in favour of marriage equality. It was finally decided to be put to a postal vote in November which saw 61% vote in favour and 38% against.
There was a 79.5% turnout which is considered quite high, meaning the cross-party bill could be passed without ammendments by both the Senate and the Houses of Representatives who together make up the Parliament.
After all of the official proceedings had finished, the prime minister stood up and applauded the people in the public gallery, many of which were heavily involved in the marriage equality campaign. In what was the most poignant moment of the morning, the public gallery then broke into song, singing one of Australia’s unofficial anthems “I am, you are we are Australian”.
Public gallery erupts into chorus of 'I Am Australian' after Parliament votes to legalise same-sex marriage #auspol #SSM pic.twitter.com/uuoePCJamD
— ABC News (@abcnews) December 7, 2017
Tiernan Brady, former Political Director of the Yes Equality Campaign here in Ireland, has led the fight for Marriage Equality in Australia since 2016 as director of the Equality Campaign.
Emotions have run high this week for LGBT+ Australians with the parliament debating this bill since Monday.
Proceedings kicked off with a marriage proposal by MP Tim Wilson to his long-term partner. It also heard many accounts from MP’s on why this bill matters so much to them.
On Tuesday Andrew Wallace spoke on how his gay daughter helped to change his position on the matter stating: “She said: Dad, in the years to come, my generation will look back and judge your generation about how you deal with the issue of homosexuality in the same way that your generation considered your parents’ generation in the way that they dealt with our Indigenous people,”.
The announcement this morning has been met with joy with many sharing their sentiments on social media.
It really is amazing to see bipartisan support of something that’s caused so much divide and debate in our country. A giant leap forward and in the right direction for Australia!#marriageequality #AustraliaSaysYes pic.twitter.com/dQtWX3vBr2
— Harry Fisher (@harryfisher19) December 7, 2017
View this post on Instagram
Yazzzzz! The Australian public voted Yes, and Senate voted Yes, the House Of Reps voted Yes! It’s a big fat YES for #marriageequality in Australia!! I really had just accepted that my community would always be seen as less than, “not equal”. I didn’t care. We didn’t need the governments validation of our love or identities. We’ve fought and prospered in the face of fear. Thanks to amazing pioneers, from the #78ers to #MarriageEquality campaigners, today, my country, Australia, has stated that the definition of marriage is a union between two people. It might not seem like much to some, but it has huge symbolism for this little boy from Brisbane and many others around the world ?️??????️? It’s gonna be one hell of a @sydneymardigras next year!
To those who didn’t live to see this day. To the amazing lesbian women who nurtured me as I came out and whose beloved partners died before their marriages could be legal. To those we lost too young to suicide. You are held in my heart. In all our hearts. #MarriageEquality
— Avril (@DocAvvers) December 7, 2017
Today will go down in history. Marriage equality is finally the law of the land in Australia!
So amazing to watch the moment the #MarriageEquality bill passed the Australian Parliament. pic.twitter.com/qfuiCX4YwZ
— Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) December 7, 2017
Remember this is a BIG win for transgender people who are currently married and no longer need to divorce to correct their birth certificate #MarriageEquality
— Brodie | (@Doppelganger_13) December 7, 2017
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