Australia has spoken! Three weeks after the country participated in a nationwide survey voting YES to same-sex marriage, the bill has finally been passed!
The survey included 12,7-million Australians with 62% of voters pledging their support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The victory comes after years of failed attempts and 20 rejected bills to make this crucial step towards inclusion a reality.
The forming and realisation of this bill has been in the works for over a decade. Written by senator Dean Smith, the bill was passed in the Australian Parliament with few obstacles or conflict. There were a few members of Parliament who didn’t quite agree with the strength of equality Australia is ready for.
Out of the MPs in the Australian House of Representatives, only four voted against the bill. Calls by the conservatives to amend the bill were rejected during the meeting. Trent Zimmerman, a Liberal MP and, according to BuzzFeed, the first openly gay member of the lower house, emphasised what this bill means for the LGBTQI+ community. ‘Love is love, Mr Speaker – and I am sure that’s something we can all agree on,’ said Zimmerman.
‘By the end of today, Australia will be a better, kinder, fairer place for all of us,’ said Labour Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek as she addressed the chamber by marking this bill as a historically significant event for Australian society as a whole. ‘Love will prevail. It will be your victory, and I hope you enjoy it.’
This is a huge celebration for Australian same-sex couples and potential members of the LGBTQI+ community who can now get married in future without persecution. Australia has been slow on the uptake in comparison to other so-called developed countries. The country only decriminalised non-normative sexualities in 1997. This bill represents a necessary shift in Australian culture.
The overwhelming support for decriminalisation of same-sex marriage is now written in law. Once it’s given the ‘royal assent’ by Australian governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove, same-sex couples can start getting married as early as January 2018.
In the meantime, couples can apply for a Notice of Intended Marriage to give the one-month-notice period under the Marriage Act. Australia is the 26th country in the world to embrace same-sex marriage.