The Australian Parliament has given green light to same sex marriage. It has now become legal in Australia after a historic bill was passed in the House of representatives. An overwhelming majority of MPs voted to change the Marriage Act, eight days after a similarly decisive result in the Senate.
The vote set off immediate celebrations in parliament, prompting cheers, applause and even a song. The result brings an end to more than a decade of robust and often bitter debate on the issue.
“What a day for love, for equality, for respect,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“Australia has done it.”
The legislation sailed through parliament without amendments after Australians overwhelmingly supported the reform in a voluntary national poll.
Australia’s governor-general is expected to approve the bill in the coming days, marking its official passage into law. Australians decisively back gay marriage
Earlier, many supporters had gathered on the lawn outside parliament. They included prominent same sex marriage advocates, including former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe and local comedian Magda Szubanski.
More than 100 MPs had spoken on the legislation after it was tabled in the House of Representatives.
Many senators and MPs related personal stories in explaining why they supported the bill. One MP’s speech ended with a marriage proposal – a first for the lower house.
However, other politicians expressed their opposition.
“It is a special relationship between man and a woman for the purposes, if you are so lucky, for bringing children into the world,” Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Thursday.
Was the debate controversial over Same Sex Marriage?
Yes. The national vote, a voluntary postal survey, followed two failed attempts by the government to hold a compulsory poll that was twice voted down by the Senate.
Senators who opposed the compulsory vote did not necessarily oppose legalization but said the vote would be costly and fuel hate campaigns. They argued the matter should be put to a parliamentary vote.
Many same-sex marriage advocates leveled the same criticism at the voluntary vote, which did not require legislative approval. During the eight-week survey, both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage were accused of bullying and conducting misleading campaigns.