Australian senate passes same-sex marriage bill

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/29 13:51:57

The Australian senate on Wednesday voted in favor of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, less than a month after 61.6 percent of Australians voted "yes" in a postal survey asking whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Following a morning of intense debate in the Upper House in Canberra, the motion to approve the same-sex marriage bill, introduced by Liberal Senator Dean Smith, was passed by a vote of 43-12.

The bill will next head to the House of Representatives, where it must also be approved before it becomes law.

Speaking outside the parliament following the approval of his private member's bill, Smith said it was a "remarkable day" which was well overdue.

"By any measure, today is a remarkable day. But my first comments are for those many people who have been fighting for this well before Dean Smith thought he should get involved," Smith said.

"Let it be clear: the courage that was required to stop this fight, stop this argument, to claw for equality before the law, was much harder to do in the past than it has been to do in the present."

Labor senator and openly-gay woman Penny Wong said she was "lost for words" in the wake of the decision.

"I'm a bit lost for words. That doesn't happen very often. I said in the chamber today that it is always a privilege to stand in the chamber but there are days when you feel like you are part of changing the nation," she said following the vote.

"I want to thank Senator Smith for his courage and integrity and for being willing to do what he has done with us."

Meanwhile, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said that the senate had "filled Australia with love" after voting to approve Smith's bill, declaring it as a proud moment for senators from all sides of politics.

"Love has made its way through the Senate. It is unstoppable now through the House," he said.

"This is such a great occasion. It is a great moment. What we've seen today is the parliament at its finest, working together, working together with a common cause and that common cause was equality and love."

The introduction and subsequent approval of the same-sex marriage bill comes less than a month after a majority of Australians (61.6 percent) voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia. That result paved the way for the introduction of Smith's private member's bill.

Now that the senate has passed the legislation, the bill will be introduced into the House of Representatives. It is expected to easily pass the Lower House, meaning it will soon become Australian law that two members of the same-sex can legally wed.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously promised that same-sex marriage would be legal in Australia "by Christmas" should the "yes" vote make up the majority in the postal plebiscite.


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