Nearly Unanimous Yes Votes for Marriage Equality in Australia's House of Representatives
Australia's House of Representatives overnight passed its same-sex marriage bill in a massive landslide vote, with just four Members of Parliament out of 150 voting no. About a dozen, including former anti-gay prime minister Tony Abbott, abstained from voting, The Guardian reports.
One week ago the Senate also passed the same-sex marriage bill. In November the results of a forced but not binding postal plebiscite of Australians found over 60 percent support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Couples will shortly be able to register for marriage, but will have to wait 28 days before being able to marry. The first couples wishing to marry will be able to do so January 6.
In the Australian Parliament, to vote against something you physically have to sit on the opposition benches. Here's what the equal marriage vote looked like. pic.twitter.com/Jn8wOwkVuaâ€” Nick M Duffy (@NickMDuffy) December 7, 2017
"We've voted today for equality, for love, it's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. "This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect."
Appropriating Ecclesiastes 3, Shorten said there was a season for everything: "It is now a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to love and now, at last, a time for marriage equality."
Prominent LGBTI Australians including the swimming stars Ian Thorpe and Daniel Kowalski, the actor Magda Szubanski and the campaigner Kerry Phelps descended on the nation's capital, Canberra, to celebrate the final legislative victory that has followed years of activism and a three-month community campaign by the Equality Campaign.
At a press conference after the vote, the Equality Campaign co-chair, Alex Greenwich, said: "We came, we saw and love finally conquered. Marriage equalityis finally the law of the land."
Lawmaker spent 55 hours across both houses in speeches and debate.
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