Australian Parliament says yes to same-sex marriage in landslide vote

Saul Bowman
December 10, 2017

Australia is now the 26th country in which same-sex marriage is legal, joining the likes of South Africa and the US.

"It is now our job as members of Parliament to pass a fair bill that does not extend or create any new discriminations", an emotional government lawmaker Warren Entsch, who helped draft the bill, told Parliament.

Sir Peter Cosgrove gave the laws royal assent on Friday morning, while the new forms which give a month's notice of a couple's intended marriage went online.

"Australia has done it", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the House.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also spoke ahead of the vote, saying: "Australia, we are going to make marriage equality a reality in minutes". At long last, LGBTIQ Australians will be equal under the law.

Another Queensland MP who voted against the Bill, the Independent Bob Katter, said during the debate that "we have an extraordinary incidence of homosexual behaviour in Australia compared with other nations, and I think the people who have been speaking for this Bill would agree with me on that".

"Quite literally without them voting for us, this would never have happened", Thorpe said. This is Australia: "fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect", he added.

The first gay marriage is supposed to be registered in February 2018.

"The Parliament has got on with it and we have voted today for an equality, for love, it is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all, this is Australia!"

The new laws cleared parliament unchanged on Thursday evening after a marathon debate lasting 56 hours and despite a push from conservative MPs for additional religious protections.

Gay couples who tied the knot overseas will now have their unions officially recognised.

"The Australian people were promised that their freedom of speech, freedom of religion and parental rights would be protected in any same-sex marriage legislation, and this has not happened", he said.

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