Culture

Love Wins: Marriage Equality Just Passed Parliament!

YES!

After the longest campaign, we’re finally there: the marriage equality bill has been passed by both houses of Parliament, and will soon become law across the country.

The bill passed the House of Representatives this afternoon after hours of emotional debate, with more than one hundred MPs speaking on the issue. All proposed amendments to the bill were knocked back, meaning that marriage equality will become law without special provisions for bakers, florists and civil celebrants to refuse service to same sex marriages.

In other words, we’re getting the real deal: marriage equality, plain and simple.

Only around five MPs voted against the bill, and the yes side of the chamber was so full that some MPs had to stand behind the seats.

As the Senate has already passed the bill, all that needs to happen now for same-sex marriage to be well and truly legal is to have the Governor-General ratify the bill. That could happen as early as this week, which would make it law before Christmas. Taking into account the requirement to give a month’s notice of intent to marry in Australia, we should be seeing the first same-sex weddings take place in January.

Supporters of marriage equality gathered on the lawns outside Parliament house from early this morning to witness the vote, waving placards and rainbow flags, dancing and playing music in celebration.

At the moment the bill passed, there were cheers from the public gallery, and a standing ovation from those in the chamber. Those assembled in the public gallery then broke out into song, singing We Are Australian. A rainbow flag was unfurled and waved high.

The bill’s passage today follows a months-long postal survey campaign that caused immense stress and harm to LGBTIQ+ Australians. It also follows a number of previous, failed attempts to pass marriage equality bills in Australia, and decades of discrimination, intolerance and fear levelled at this country’s LGBTIQ+ community.

But we finally made it to this moment: the bill has passed, marriage equality will be legal in a matter of days, and it’s time to celebrate. Happy marriage equality day.