Same-sex marriage law passes first major hurdle in Australia

by Antonio Miles November 30, 2017, 12:52
Same-sex marriage law passes first major hurdle in Australia

Australia is a step closer to legalising same-sex marriage after lawmakers passed a bill in the Senate.

Supporters of the law hailed a "historic event", while one prominent No campaigner - Senator Barry O'Sullivan - congratulated supporters of the change for their success.

Australia's legislative path to gay marriage comes after a nation-wide vote earlier this month where more than 61% of citizens voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage, a non-binding result that pressured the government to act.

While the Dean Smith bill already allows priests and other religious celebrants to refuse to Wednesday same-sex couples on the basis of their faith, a number of senators wanted the protection extended to civil celebrants with a "conscientious objection".

There have been cheers and hugs as the same-sex marriage bill passes the Senate with an overwhelming majority.

However, The Guardian reports each of the amendments presented were voted down. "There is nothing to hide", he said in an emotional speech on Tuesday. "It is time that we were equal", Senator Pratt said. It was voted 42 in favour, with 12 senators voting against it.

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'Today I am so proud of this country'. The bill will then be debated in the House of Representatives on Monday.

He said he would vote "no" to the Bill "in solidarity with those over 100,000 Tasmanians who voted no". Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged lawmakers to pass the marriage bill by Christmas.

The Tasmanian senator said that it should be remembered that religious rights are part of Australia's global obligations, while same sex marriage was not.

Senator Smith, the first openly gay Liberal MP, helped drive the change within the Coalition and sponsored the final bill that passed the chamber essentially unchanged on Wednesday afternoon.

"To proceed with this amendment would undermine the important principle that civil celebrants, as secular representatives of the state, should be bound by antidiscrimination legislation", Labor's Louise Pratt told the Senate in a closing argument.

A conservative amendment to create two definitions of marriage - one between a "man and a woman" and another between "two people" - was also rejected, as was one allowing parents to remove their children from schools over same-sex marriage teachings.

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