Thank You, Australia

Thank you Australia. Together, we did this. Marriage equality is finally the law of the land and its time to start celebrating. 

Legislation passed the house with almost every MP voting yes, only a handful voting No, while several abstained, following one of the most intense political and social change journeys in our nation’s history.

Our parliament finally mended the heart it broke in 2004 when same-sex marriage was banned in order to prevent the courts from making marriage equality possible. 

We’ve had many legislative and political setbacks since then, but with everyone helping, our movement grew stronger.

For over a decade, marriage equality has inspired people to engage in the political process for the first time, from making submissions to inquiries to lobbying local MPs. 

We now have a new generation of campaigners who made history together and made Australia a better place. From marching in rallies to knocking on neighbours’ doors, everyday Aussies have done what it takes to get this bill through. 

The final stretch — the postal survey — was not fun or easy, but we did it and we won it. The result was the biggest ever political mandate delivered to our parliament, and a landslide victory for love. 

The last hurdle, the hostile amendments from opponents, were resoundingly defeated today. Let this be the last time Parliament plays games with the lives of the LGBTIQ+ community. 

In celebrating this victory, we must remember the amazing stories that brought Australians together in support of gay and lesbian mates. From Geoff Field and Jason Kerr’s “illegal wedding” a decade ago, to the mums and dads who fought long and hard for all of their family to be treated equally under the law. 

Let’s keep this momentum, which saw people across the political spectrum finally work together to do something good and make people happy, continue. It’s been a tough year in politics but we’re ending it on a high note. Let’s keep that going into the new year

On a personal note, thank you to everyone who stuck with us during the tough times and often unimaginable challenges.

The strength of Australia truly shone through today. From tomorrow and the next day we will wake up in an Australia that we have shaped to be a better, safer and fairer place for all of us and for future generations to come. 

Be proud. You did this. 

Alex Greenwich is the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality. Follow him @AlexGreenwich.