Australia has officially legalized same-sex marriage today after a long national debate and a slightly peculiar (and mighty expensive) postal survey process. The legislation has passed with just over 60 percent approval rating by the Australian population.
In November, almost 80 percent of Australians answered a voluntary postal survey that asked a simple question: whether they were in favor of same-sex marriage or not. 61.6 percent said yes, and since that result, the country’s Parliament has been working to make the proposal into law. Today, on the very last day of Parliament’s sitting year, Lower House MPs finally passed the necessary bills.
As Vice Australia reports, just as the historic bill became a historic law, the public sitting gallery outside of the Parliament building broke out in a tearful chorus of the Oz staple We Are Australian." The gallery was mostly filed with same-sex marriage supporters and campaigners.
Same-Sex Marriage: The Public Gallery inside the House of Representatives broke-out into song inside as soon as MPs made same-sex marriage legal in Australia today. "I am, you are, we are Australian." https://t.co/rsGKqHokzx #SSM #auspol #7News pic.twitter.com/YrTDo26Hk9— 7 News Adelaide (@7NewsAdelaide) December 7, 2017
The legalization also means that any same-sex Australian couples who chose to get married overseas will now have their marriage automatically and legally recognized in their home country. But it will also certainly cause an uptick in proposals and marriages throughout the country, just in time for the holiday season, which also means summer in the Southern Hemisphere country.
One of these marriages might well include that of MP Tim Wilson and his partner Ryan Bolger. Wilson proposed to Bolger inside Parliament as a same-sex marriage debate rolled on on the floor. He became the first lawmaker to propose on the House floor, and was open about the struggle of being an out gay man in Australia. “I suspect many people find understanding these journeys difficult,” he said. “It’s so paralyzing because you can’t seek help from others. The people you should be able to turn to are the ones you fear speaking to the most because the cost of rejection is so high.”