Australia catches up with history, legalizes same-sex marriage

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.


  1. John Morales says

    Nice and upbeat, but let’s face it, Australia is hardly a pimple in the global population.

    Vast swathes of it are not in jurisdictions amenable to this change within the foreseeable future.

  2. lanir says

    Insisting on change everywhere at once empowers anyone, even an insignificantly small group, to stop you cold by expending the least amount of effort.

  3. Roj Blake says

    While it is true that only 4 MPs voted against the bill, there were a number of others who opposed equality who hid in their offices during the vote. At least the 4 on the wrong side of history were honest enough to own their opposition.

    Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Treasurer Scott Morrison, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, all cowards.

    As to the too dumb to know the law Xtian couple, they cannot get a divorce.

    Australian divorce law requires a separation of more than 12 months and no possibility of reconciliation. The Grandstanders for Jesus still live together and declared that even after divorce they would continue to live together and have more babies for Jesus. Therefore they are ineligible for divorce.

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