Australia is yet another step closer to legalizing gay marriage
Australia is officially on the path to legalizing gay marriage. Lawmakers passed a same-sex marriage bill in the Australian Senate on November 29th that would allow for same-sex couples to get married.
Senators in the upper house voted to pass the bill 43-12. Next, the bill will face the House of Representatives, and, if passed there, it will become law.
Conservative senators attempted to amend the bill to allow businesses to refuse their services to same-sex couples based on religious opposition. But these amendments were defeated during the two days spent debating the bill.
"The Australian people voted to lessen discrimination, not to extend it, and we, the Senate, have respected that vote by rejecting amendments which sought to extend discrimination, or derail marriage equality," Labor Senator Penny Wong told Parliament.
Australians expressed widespread support of marriage equality in a postal vote on November 15th. The results of the survey showed that about 61.6 percent of those who voted supported same-sex marriage. The bill was drafted following the release of the survey’s results.
Despite his party’s opposition to marriage equality, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has expressed his commitment to passing the law. The Australian government hopes to pass the bill through the House by December 7th.
Supporters of marriage equality took to Twitter to celebrate.
Australia’s attorney general George Brandis defended the bill on November 28th during its debate in the Senate. He said that making the bill law would “demolish the last significant bastion of legal discrimination” for gay people in Australia.
"By passing this bill, you are saying to those vulnerable young people that there is nothing wrong with you.You are not unusual. You are not abnormal. You are just you," Brandis said.
Passing this bill in the Senate is a huge step in the right direction for Australia. As Brandis said, marriage equality can change the lives of LGBTQ people and their families. The battle is not quite over yet, but it’s looking more and more likely that Australian marriage equality will soon be a reality!