Australia Legalises Same-Sex Marriage in Historic Parliamentary Vote


Australia has become the 26th country to formally legalize same-sex marriage after a historic vote this Thursday.

Australia's Senate had voted decisively in favour of the gay marriage Bill last week, reported the BBC. "Australia has done it", Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the House.

That said, the Senate voted in favor of legalizing it just after a few hours of debate and nearly unanimously with only four members opposing the bill.

"It's a historic day for Australia today and I think the celebrations around the country when we finally ... achieve marriage equality are going to be vast", Greens party senator Janet Rice said. More than 12 million people participated.

The parliamentarians who voted in favor of same-sex marriage took time to let the jubilant moment sink in, celebrating with hugs and handshakes and proudly sporting rainbow-colored clothing.

The legislation was brought to parliament through the upper house, following a non-compulsory, non-binding postal survey in which 61.6 per cent of people voted Yes. Leading "no" campaigner Lyle Shelton said it was "deeply disappointing" day. In the Senate, voting on this bill took place a week earlier. Queues of people lined up to watch the debate from the public gallery, with some dancing and cheering.

"The government is accountable in question time and so is the opposition so we will all be accountable in question time today as we are every day that parliament sits".

Several parliamentarians who supported the changes wore rainbow-coloured socks or ties, including Warren Entsch, described in local media as a "fiercely heterosexual... crocodile-farming, bull-catching Liberal".

An Australian MP named Tim Wilson even proposed to his partner, Ryan Bolger, in the middle of the debates.

With the new bill, same-sex couples that were legally married in other countries will now have these marriages recognized.