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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Love Wins Down Under

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December 7 will be remembered fondly by our Australian brothers and sisters as the day Parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill 2017, legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the southern continent -- the last large English-speaking nation to do so.  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered the bill in person the next morning (remember, they are twelve hours ahead of us) to Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who promptly gave Royal Assent to the bill, making it the law of the land from December 9.  Same-sex marriages contracted by Australians in foreign countries will be recognized in law from that day forward.  Following the standard one-month waiting period, gay weddings on Australian soil can begin on January 9.

Only four members of the House of Commons voted against the bill; many conservative members simply abstained or absented themselves from the chamber.  The picture below dramatically shows the overwhelming majority of members sitting on the "yes" side, while the "no" side is practically deserted.  The galleries burst into applause and song when the Speaker declared the bill passed.

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The change in the law is a happy conclusion to the long struggle for marriage equality in Australia, which has its share of right-wing fanatics and zealots; you can read the history of the struggle at Wikipedia.

Australia is now the 26th nation to embrace same-sex marriage. The Pew Research Center gives a global summary of same-sex marriage laws here.

1 comment:

Davis said...

Makes me a very happy man.

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