Today has seen a major development in Australia’s move towards the legalisation of same-sex marriage with a bill passing the Senate, without any major amendments being made. This advancement was prompted by the results of the country’s recent postal vote regarding having marriage equality in Australia, with 61.6% of Australians voting ‘Yes’ and in favour of affirmative changes being made to the Marriage Act. Moreover, the progress being made supports a statement by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who claims that the bill will be passed by Christmas.
The Senate vote regarding the bill ended with 43 in favour, 12 opposed, and 16 senators either absent or abstaining from voting. Several concerns were raised in the wake of the postal vote and the creation of the bill, as select politicians and citizens alike called for more ‘religious protections’ to be embedded within the bill, such as granting civil celebrants the right of ‘conscientious objection’ to wedding same-sex couples. However, all extra religious exemptions outside of the bill itself have been voted down by a senator majority.
Having passed Senate, the bill will now go on to face the Lower House next week for its last vote before same-sex marriage is expected to finally be entered into Australian law.
Although the bill has yet to be passed by the House of Representatives, most MPs in the Lower House are predicted to support the legalisation of same-sex marriage and vote for its enactment into law. Many are hopeful for a positive outcome and with each day it seems more and more likely that Australia will, at last, have marriage equality.
The path to marriage equality in Australia has been long and filled with various unnecessary obstacles, but the implementation of this bill signals that the country has made tremendous strides in overcoming the intolerance and ignorance that has too often dictated the laws of society throughout history.
Photo: Paris Buttfield-Addison from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, Australia (Melbourne Rally for Marriage Equality 2017) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons