by Ethan Storey
Through a historic Bill, Australia has joined the 26 countries that have legalised same sex marriage. After many months of debate and setbacks, it has officially been signed into Australian law by the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove in a formal ceremony.
It was voted in on the Thursday and set off rarely seen celebrations in Parliament with many MP’s cheering and celebrating, over 77 MPs have spoken on the bill since its proposal.
Australian MP and vocal marriage equality supporter Tim Wilson has said the passing of the bill “Rams a stake into the heart of that stigma and its legacy” Wilson has previously spoken out about his own experiences growing up in Australia with the stigma that had surrounded being gay. Wilson, in an act of celebration, proposed to his partner during the debate on Thursday when the laws where being introduced.
The legislation passed through Parliament without amendments despite many anticipating opposition from the more conservative MPs. Australia’s Prime Minster Malcom Turnbull has said of the public: “they told us politicians to get on with it and we did” and has called the reform on marriage equality as the most significant achievements of his Government.
Despite the overwhelming support through the national survey, the Government had come under fire for delaying the debate in favour of holding the survey first. It was a voluntary and non-binding poll, and many have said it was unnecessary as the issue could have been solved immediately in a parliamentary debate.
The Prime minister has said the law will take effect immediately after midnight Friday 8th of December, and the first weddings are expected to take place in January 9th after the required one month notice of an intention to marry- the same as other engaged couples.
After news broke about the new laws celebrations erupted nationwide with many donning rainbow flags and landmarks like the Adelaide oval being lit up in the classic pride colours in celebration.