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Australia's parliament has legalized same-sex marriage.
The law was introduced after Australians took part in a voluntary postal survey on same-sex marriage, and overwhelmingly voted in favour.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Australia after the House of Representatives passed the bill just before 6pm on Thursday, December 7.
The moment many waited for arrived later than they’d hoped, and even then it was delayed by a final four minutes when a division was required to count the vote, despite an overwhelming call of yes from the floor of parliament.
“Just two voices?” speaker Tony Smith asked as the call for a count came.
Here’s the moment the #MarriageEquality bill passed the Australian Parliament #auspol pic.twitter.com/MUoBTgBIhk
— Political Alert (@political_alert) December 7, 2017
With less than five votes for no, Smith did not bother with a count.
“That’s it,” he said, as applause erupted through the house, before the gallery serenaded the MPs with a rendition of “We are Australian.”
Only four MPs voted no — government members David Littleproud, Keith Pitt, Russell Broadbent, and Queensland independent Bob Katter. Recently re-elected Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, who announced during the debate that he had separated from his wife, abstained.
The House of Representatives has passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. The bill now goes to the Governor-General for Royal Assent.
— Australian House of Representatives (@AboutTheHouse) December 7, 2017
Before the final vote, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was a great day for Australia.
“What a day! What a day for love, for quality, for respect! Australia has done it. Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!” he said.
“We have voted today for equality, for love. It is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who has voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all, this is Australia!”
It's time for more marriages.
Marriage equality has passed!
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) December 7, 2017
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said LGBTIQ people were equal under the law “at long last.”
“And those of us in Parliament privileged to serve, we understand that we do so with humility. The humility to recognise that the passage of this law does not in essence belong to us, but the credit for the passage of this law belongs to all Australians and I say to those who voted no, I recognise that now is the time for healing, to put this debate behind us,” he said.
The Labor leader said the passing of the marriage equality law was not a gift to LGBTIQ Australians.
“Equality is never a gift to be given. Equality is the inalienable birthright of every Australian and this equality is long overdue,” he said.
“I say the gift that LGBTIQ Australians have given all of us is that we are a nation who includes all of our people, who values all relationships and all families, that we are a better nation altogether.
“So, as it is written: ‘there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’. It is now a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to love. And now, at last, a time for marriage equality.”
Greens MP Adam Bandt had the final say before the vote, saying: “What a big day for love because, despite the years of bigotry and hate, and despite the years of violence and lies, and the ignorance and fear, love has won and it is time to pop the bubbly.
“I’m going to keep it short and sweet. Because it is time to let the bells ring and let the people sing because love has won!”