Australian Parliament allows same-sex marriages

Dec 8, 2017

By Rod McGuirk

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Parliament voted Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter debate settled by a much-criticized government survey of voters that strongly endorsed change.

The public gallery in the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed. It changes the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to “a union of two people” excluding all others. The legislation passed with a majority that wasn’t challenged, although four lawmakers registered their opposition.

“What a day. What a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Parliament.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. The government later announced that same-sex couples will be able to apply to marry starting Saturday, with the first weddings potentially from Jan. 6.

Champagne and tears flowed in the halls of Parliament House as gay celebrities including Olympic champion swimmer Ian Thorpe and actress Magda Szubanski hugged lawmakers and ordinary folk in a party atmosphere.

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5 comments on “Australian Parliament allows same-sex marriages

  • A great day for LGBTQI Australian’s but I just feel embarrassed and a little depressed it took so long. We are just about the last of the English speaking countries to make this simple and necessary extension of human rights. Even then we had to give a let out clause for Religious Ministers and existing Civil Celebrants. Funny how we like to think we are a secular country that prides itself on giving everyone a “fair go”.

    Keep an eye out next year for the Ruddock Review. All the attempts to privilege religious beliefs (aka religious freedom!) have been deferred to that.

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  • At least the abstainers by their abstention illustrate the limit of “religious tolerance”.

    Religious bigotry can be allowed no further than this passivity until its license is validated, something no spookiologist has ever yet managed.

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  • Hi mmurray,

    I likewise feel embarrassed about the time it took for us to get to this point should have happened a decade ago. It’s interesting to note that Abbot didn’t have the courage of his convictions to end up voting no in Parliament. I honestly don’t know how to feel about this, is it more disrespectful to abstain or to vote no? After forcing this $100 million + nonsense postal vote on Australia so that Turnbull could placate his back bench then have so few of the nasty buggers actually stand up and vote no was not as far as I can see a shining moment for Australian Parliament it was an example of a massive delay and expenditure of money and hostile debate for the general public to confirm what every poll had reported prior to the postal vote at great expense.

    Yes, very happy it happened in the end but I’ll never listen to a LNP voter tell me they are the financially responsible party again. They spent their entire time in opposition complaining of the national debt but the moment Malcolm clearly just needs to tell his back bench to “Shut the F up” they instead make up go through this ridiculous process before they go and finally do their bloody jobs. But great for the LGBT community the government has finally undone what Howard put in during his term. Most of Australia is behind you so bear that in mind next time some religious bigot sprouts nonsense or gives you “the hate the sin not the sinner” spiel.

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