The Australian parliament voted overwhelmingly yesterday to legalize same-sex marriages, becoming the 25th country to do so. This reverses an atrocious decision in 2004, at the same time as the height of anti-gay sentiment in the US, to specifically say that marriage was only between a man and a woman.
The lower house passed marriage equality with almost all members of the governing Liberal-National Coalition joining Labor, the Greens, and crossbench MPs in a free vote to pass the bill which cleared the Senate last week without amendment.
The only no votes were Coalition MPs Russell Broadbent, Keith Pitt, David Littleproud and independent MP Bob Katter.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Tony Smith, declared the vote carried, since fewer than five MPs opposed it, triggering a standing ovation from the parliamentarians and public gallery.
For thousands of same-sex couples who have already married in countries including New Zealand, Canada, Britain and the Netherlands, their marriages will be recognised automatically when the bill gets royal assent from the governor general in mid-December.
An amusing footnote is what will happen to a married couple, devout Christians of course, who said in 2015 that they would get divorced if same-sex marriage was legalized because … well, they had reasons which I cannot be bothered trying to understand but presumably is rooted in the idea that their god does not like it. It seems that they are now hedging their bets and refusing to answer questions. They have clearly not heard of that famous piece of advice that one should never make a threat that one is not willing and able to carry out.