Love (finally) Wins in Australia
Australia is the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage, after a very long and bitter campaign. This reverts the same-sex marriage ban which was enshrined in the legislation by then-PM John Howard in 2004.
Although many surveys have for years indicated a solid majority for equality, various proposals to change the marriage law in Parliament failed to reach a positive result, mostly because of the bitter divisions in both major parties, but especially within the Liberal Party.
The current Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, himself a supporter of LGBT rights and presiding over a constituency amongst the more diverse in the country, decided to avoid further conflict in his party by organizing a very controversial non-binding postal survey, which delivered an overwhelming result in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage (61.6%).
Following such a strong result, a bill was quickly introduced in the Senate (during the same-sex marriage debate in the Upper House, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposes to his long term partner Ryan Bolger), and then passed by the lower house today 7th December at 5:58pm local time.
Only four MPs voted against the change, and so clear was the result that a formal count was not required. A handful of MPs - including former Liberal PM Tony Abbott and Treasurer Scott Morrison - chose to abstain.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in his excitement to hail the end of this days' rivers of words, cried "What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. It is a time for more marriages, more equality, more love!"
Opposition Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten wanted the world to know that "we are no longer a nation who voted yes or no; we are Australians."