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08 December 2017, 12:59 | Terri Saunders
Australia Legalises Same-Sex Marriage in Historic Parliamentary Vote
"We've voted today for equality, for love, it's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. With the Senate last week approving the legislation by a 43-12 margin, Australia becomes the 26 country in the world to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.
Senators who opposed the compulsory vote did not necessarily oppose legalization but said the vote would be costly and fuel hate campaigns.
The House of Representatives briefly became a party last night when MPs nearly unanimously passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage.
Australians had overwhelmingly endorsed legalizing same-sex marriage in a postal survey run by the national statistics agency.
In moving scenes, the entire parliament burst into song after the bill passed, belting out the lyrics to the "I Am Australian" song: "We are one, but we are many; And from all the lands on earth we come; We'll share a dream and sing with one voice; "I am, you are, we are Australian".
But religious organizations and conservative lawmakers had voiced strong opposition and proposed dozens of amendments.
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Appropriating Ecclesiastes 3, Shorten said there was a season for everything: "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". The 500 or so people in the gallery were vocal in their disapproval of the amendments.
"While gay rights campaigners have fought for marriage equality for decades, the direct path to Thursday's vote began two years ago when the former Abbott government announced it would settle the question of same-sex marriage by a public plebiscite. They are not a sword to be wielded in the service of bigotry", government MP Andrew Hastie said in parliament.
The Australian Parliament voted 146 to 4 in support of same-sex marriage.
Australians have always been in favor of same-sex marriage, with polling from as long as 10 years ago showing majority support for legalizing marriage equality.
Almost eight out of 10 eligible voters participated in the survey, according to the government.
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Constitutional courts in South Africa, Colombia, and Taiwan have also ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in unconstitutional. The legislature is able to amend the marriage laws to allow same-sex couples to marry earlier than December 31, 2018.