Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Same-sex marriage bill set to pass through House of Representatives today

File 20171204 5378 Australia has finally achieved marriage equality but there’s a lot more to be done on LGBTI rights
Lindsey Cook | 08 December, 2017, 02:10

The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) bill, which, if passed, will formally change the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage, is now progressing through the House of Representatives with a vote expected today.

The house spent the day voting on amendments to the bill, none of which passed (otherwise it would have gone back to the Senate).

Less then four MPs voted no on the Bill, which is set to become law in days after it goes to the Governor-General, reported ABC News.

The House of Representatives is holding its final two-week session of the year, which is giving priority to lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Australia.

"What a day! What a day for love, for quality, for respect!"

The celebrations started early, with singing and dancing on the lawns of parliament house, where dozens had gathered for a marriage equality rally.

Additionally, the passing of the same-sex marriage law will be a strategic political win for Turnbull, who has been strongly opposed by his predecessor Tony Abbott, a staunch supporter of conventional marriage.

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Same-sex marriage campaigners converged outside parliament in the nation's capital Canberra to celebrate the historic occasion, which sees Australia join more than 20 other countries in recognising such unions.

In a particularly poignant moment, the ministers on the House floor and guests in the gallery began singing "I am, you are, we are Australian".

Among them was Christine Forster, the gay sister of Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister who has always been seen as the face of the "no" campaign.

Just under 5m people voted "no", with conservative politicians using their rejection as a catalyst to push for religious exemptions to be included in the bill. The Senate had passed the same legislation last week. "They've effectively ensured a lot of people who would otherwise vote for legislation to allow same sex marriage can no longer vote that way, myself included".

Nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters took part in the poll, and almost 62pc of the 12.7 million people who participated chose "yes" on their ballots.

In December 2013, same-sex marriage was very briefly legal in the Australian Capital Territory.

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