Australian parliament approves gay marriage in landslide vote

MPs Warren Entsch and Linda Burney embrace after the vote

At the end of the parliamentary year, Australia has voted to change the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry.

After years of fierce debate, the bill passed its third reading with only 4 out of the 150 members of parliament in opposition.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week with 43 votes to 12.

The move comes three weeks after a national postal survey was conducted, resulting in 61.6% of 12.7 million respondents being in favour of gay marriage.

Australia’s first female Aboriginal MP Linda Burney gave a tearful speech in honour of her late son, two days before the decision.

“I have never had a second thought. It seemed so obvious to me,” she told parliament through tears.

“I support marriage equality as someone who has, and has had, loved ones who identify as LGBTIQ.

“To them, marriage equality would mean so much. I honour these people and, in particular, my late son Binni.”

She said she also supported marriage equality “as someone who is a member of a community that has experienced great discrimination and injustice,” and that she knew all too well “what it means to be rejected … what intergenerational trauma feels like, and what hurt and distress does to you.”

Speaking to the House on Marriage Equality, 5/12/17

Today, I had my opportunity to speak on Marriage Equality in the Parliament. I have long been a supporter of Marriage Equality. I support Marriage Equality as someone who has and has had loved ones, who identify as LGBTIQ. To them Marriage Equality would mean so much. Just as the 1967 referendum fundamentally transformed the way we talked about, perceive, value and treat Aboriginal Australians, I truly believe that the passage of Marriage Equality will have a similar positive transformation for our nation. I have seen firsthand the confusion, anxiety and pain that many of our young people experience in dealing with their sexuality.I never supported the Government’s $122 million postal survey. It was expensive, divisive and hurtful, and it set an incredibly very dangerous precedent. It essentially forced our LGBTIQ loved ones to beg for their own civil rights, a truly humiliating and shameful exercise. I represent one of the most multicultural electorates in the nation. And I note some media reports suggesting that the No vote correlated with the ethnic enclaves of suburban Sydney. But I would issue great caution against this interpretation or analysis of the postal survey result. Even if all the voters from non-English speaking backgrounds in my electorate and in Australia voted No, that still wouldn’t account for the entirety of the No vote. So let’s just get a little bit of perspective on those results. I am proud of the fact that my electorate is one of the most multi-culturally diverse in the country. This diversity did not cause the No vote.My electorate knows that I will fight for fairness and I will fight for them. I will fight for fairness in Education and fight the Government’s cuts to schools. I will fight for fairness in Health and fight the Government’s cuts to Medicare. And I will fight for fairness by voting for Marriage Equality. And my electorate can always count on that. This was my speech to the Parliament.

Posted by Linda Burney on Montag, 4. Dezember 2017


MP Bob Katter voiced his disapproval, however, going so far as to say “I refuse to use the word g-a-y.” His reaction illustrates that, for many Australians, LGBTQ+ people are still not accepted at large, and that there is a long way to go until queer and trans people will be equal.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it a “day for love and respect.”

“We must respect the voice of the people. We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal. It is overwhelming.”



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Eman Cheema

Eman studies Ethics, Society, and Law at the University of Toronto, and also minors in Philosophy and Gender Studies. When she's not teaching or lawyering every other bro on here, she's busy eating tacos.

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