Image via Unsplash
About bloody time.
The vote came in the House of Representatives a few minutes before 6pm on Thursday. After a national survey that was emotionally exhausting, the marriage equality bill has passed both houses of Parliament with a huge backing from its members.
The moment the vote was declared, despite the four members who opposed the bill being passed, the gallery was a celebration of cheers and applause. Rainbow flags, tears and joy were everywhere. A chorus of “We Are Australian” was sung. It’s been a long road, and the destination has finally be reached.
It’s been thirteen years since the Marriage Act was changed to exclude same-sex couples from marrying. The redefinition of the law now allows these couples the same legal status as heterosexual couples.
The bill will become law shortly after the Governor-General ratifies the bill, which has been reported by Fairfax Media has been called for today. Attorney-General George Brandis has advised the law would potentially change on Saturday. We’ll also start seeing weddings taking place in January as it you are required to give a month’s notice before marrying in Australia.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after the vote:
“[I’m] so proud that this has occurred while I am Prime Minister while the Liberal and National parties are in Government.
“It is a great moment in our history, a great moment in our political history.”
How did the Australian people react to the news?
Twitter exploded with love and rainbows as the hashtag #MarriageEquality started trending.
— Van Badham ✊🏻🌈 (@vanbadham) December 7, 2017
Enjoy yourself #marriageequality
— Lee Lin Chin (@LeeLinChinSBS) December 7, 2017
i need to pay my respects to the LGBTQI+ gens who faced the worst of the worst queer battles. we would not be here without those people, the 78ers, the LGBTQI+ elders who paved the way, the proud fearless queers who faced death by coming out. i am so thankful. #marriageequality
— chloe sargeant🏳️🌈 (@chlosarge) December 7, 2017
— Antlers Furze 🎄 🏳️🌈 (@AndersFurze) December 7, 2017
To those who didn’t live to see this day. To the amazing lesbian women who nurtured me as I came out and whose beloved partners died before their marriages could be legal. To those we lost too young to suicide. You are held in my heart. In all our hearts. #MarriageEquality
— Avril (@DocAvvers) December 7, 2017
I just saw that #MarriageEquality just passed in Australia! Congrats to everyone that pushed so hard to make this day a reality.
Here’s the moment it happened. pic.twitter.com/cyvbJ2obAO
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) December 7, 2017
What does this mean for Australia?
While same-sex couples will now received the same legal rights, we can’t forget the trauma of the postal survey, the attacks on LGBTQI+ people and the feelings of vulnerability and fear. Not only that, but Australia hasn’t quite caught up on how modern families function, and some are still under the belief same-sex attraction can be ‘cured’. These sorts of opinions and beliefs will remain in Australian society despite the changes to the Marriage Act, and the LGBTQI+ community will need continuous support.
However, there are many good things to come from this historic day. The wedding industry will be booming. Celebrations of love will be everywhere. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to marry the person you love. Thursday was an incredible day for all LGBTQI+ people of Australia, and for a long time, their place in Australian society will no longer be challenged by law.