Australian Parliament allows same-sex marriage


That was the hope of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after 62% of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a legally non-binding postal survey conducted over two months earlier this year. With the Senate last week approving the legislation by a 43-12 margin, Australia becomes the 26 country in the world to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.

The marriage equality bill won massive support in the House of Representatives where almost all members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition joined by Labor and the Greens voting in favor of the bill.

The House of Representatives briefly became a party last night when MPs nearly unanimously passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage.

Prime Minister Turnbull campaigned in 2015 on the promise of having a revisitation of Australia's marriage laws.

Fighting back tears, Liberal MP Sarah Henderson told the story Wednesday night of a close gay friend of hers who died months ago and who, in one of their last conversations, asked her to continue to push for same-sex marriage.

"It's a historic day for Australia today and I think the celebrations around the country when we finally ... achieve marriage equality are going to be huge", Greens party senator Janet Rice said.

More news: Belarus' MP comments on situation with Russian athletes and 2018 Olympic Games
More news: Chad Morris leaves SMU, becomes Arkansas head coach
More news: Texas Officer Killed Serving Warrant Identified

The only potential obstacle to the law passing on Thursday would be if marriage equality opponents managed to amend the legislation. "This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect".

Lawmaker spent 55 hours across both houses in speeches and debate. The 500 or so people in the gallery were vocal in their disapproval of the amendments.

Australians have always been in favor of same-sex marriage, with polling from as long as 10 years ago showing majority support for legalizing marriage equality.

Several parliamentarians who supported the changes wore rainbow-coloured socks or ties, including Warren Entsch, described in local media as a "fiercely heterosexual... crocodile-farming, bull-catching Liberal".

The laws, which will also recognize same-sex marriages solemnized in foreign countries, take effect from Saturday.