Same-sex marriage has been a topic of discussion in Australia for the longest time now. The country has seen the rise of support, and less hatred, over the concept of marriage equality in last few years. However, Australia’s parliament was yet to acknowledge that “love is love”, no matter if it happens between a man and a woman, or between two people of the same sex.
But on Thursday, December 7th, 2017, things changed for Australia and its people. After years of hard-fought advocacy, over 20 failed bills, and an extraordinary, unprecedented national postal survey, same-sex marriage has finally become the law of the land in Australia.
The same-sex marriage law is the result of a campaign that has been running in Australia in earnest since 2004. The bill for the law was penned by Senator Dean Smith, and it passed the House of Representatives with no substantive modifications.
In order to know what the people of Australia truly wanted, a national postal survey was organised, all throughout the nation. The bill was finally turned into the parliament three weeks after it was revealed 62% of Australians had voted “yes” in the national survey.
The scene at the public gallery was nothing short of historic too. What first started with polite applause, soon turned into a huge celebration all over the gallery. Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman noted he was the first openly gay member of the lower house, and said, “Love is love, Mr. Speaker – and I am sure that’s something we can all agree on.” as reported by Buzzfeed.
The attorney general, George Brandis, announced that on 9 December same-sex couples will be able “to lodge a notice of intended marriage”, paving the way for weddings as early as 6 January 2018. The bill now has to receive “royal assent” from Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
With the passing of same-sex marriage law, Australia becomes the 25th country in the world to officially legalise the love that two people have for each other. There are various countries that have already made their mark by legalising same-sex marriage, like England, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The Netherlands was actually the first country in the world to allow two people, regardless of sex, to marry each other, in 2000.
Just a few days back, while the debate of legalising same-sex marriage was taking place in Australia’s parliament, the Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner during his speech on the bill. The Liberal MP’s voice breaks with emotion as he said: ‘There’s only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?’ Bolger, seated in the gallery, beams and says yes and his answer is marked in the Hansard.
source: Guardian Australia
Every time a country makes a mark as historical as this one, people from all over the world, especially the members of LGBT community, start feeling safer and welcomed. Evan Wolfson, the founder of Freedom to Marry, which led the campaign for marriage equality in the United States told New York Times, “it is a huge affirmation of the dignity of gay people in yet another country, and that will reverberate in the lives of people across Australia and the world.”
One can now simply wait for other countries to follow the footsteps of Australia and legalise love between every man and woman. Starting from India, itself.