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2017-OCT-DEC. Australia:
Parliament Passes Marriage Equality Bill.
When will same-sex marriages begin?

Part 32:

gender/love  1

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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2017-DEC-07: Australian Parliament passes same-sex marriage bill:

By a vote of 146 to 4, the House passed the same-sex marriage bill as filed, without amendments. Three Coalition Members of Parliament -- Russell Broadbent, Keith Pitt, and David Littleproud along with independent MP Bob Katter, voted against the bill.

A You Tube video follows, titled: "Singing breaks out in Australian parliament as marriage equality law is passed:"

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The Members and observers in the pubic gallery gave a standing ovation. Some sang the chorus of one of Australia's unofficial national anthems: "I am, you are, we are Australian."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said:

"What a day for love, for equality, for respect! Australia has done it. Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it! We’ve voted today for equality, for love, it’s time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect. This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect."

Janet Rice of the Greens party said:

"It's a historic day for Australia today and I think the celebrations around the country when we finally … achieve marriage equality are going to be immense."

Bill Shorten, leader of the Labor party said that the laws reflect: "... a modern Australia, inclusive and fair."

He quoted from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3, which begins:

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

He said there was a season for everything:

"It is now a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to love and now, at last, a time for marriage equality. 3,4

Co-chairperson Alex Greenwich of the Equality Campaign co-chair said:

"We came, we saw and love finally conquered. Marriage equality is finally the law of the land."

The veteran LGBTI rights campaigner Rodney Croome said:

"This reform is a gift that we’re all here give to the next generation, a gift of the quality and inclusion, for them to build a better Australia... ."

Jacqui Tomlins is a spokesperson for Rainbow Families. She and her wife, Sarah married Canada more than 12 years ago. Their marriage will be recognized when the bill is ratified. She said that it:

"... has been a massive journey for us and our family. When Sarah and I got married ... our son was nine months old ... and our daughters, who are [now] 10 and 12, were just a twinkle in their mother’s eye. ... This is the end of a journey that has been bookended with two pieces of legislation: one that put discrimination in and one that will take the discrimination out."

The law that she referred to that "put discrimination in" was one passed by the federal Parliament to restrict marriage to one woman and one man. Years previous, Tomlins had been joined by a few other couples who filed a lawsuit to have their overseas same-sex marriage recognized. That triggered an earlier law to specifically limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Australia is becoming the 26th nation to attain marriage equality. That will leave Northern Ireland as the only large predominately English-speaking country that still does not allow same-sex couples to marry.

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When might same-sex couples be able to marry?

Peter Marsh, writing for ABC News (Australia) on NOV-16, 5 predicted that:

  • The House of Representatives could pass the bill about DEC-07. This actually happened right on time.

  • The Governor General will probably ratify the law on DEC-08. This also happened as predicted. The Prime Minister took the bill directly to Government House, where Governor-General Peter Cosgrove's signed it into law. 6

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, after a brief ceremony on DEC-08:

"So it is all done. It is part of the law of the land. ... Australians had their say and overwhelmingly voted yes to marriage equality, to love, respect and commitment. They told us politicians to get on with it and we did." 6

At 12:00 AM on the morning of DEC-09, the law took effect.

The government now recognizes all of the marriages of Australian same-sex couples who had previously married in New Zealand, Hawaii, the U.S., Canada, or one of the other 21 countries which had legalized same-sex marriage. Also, engaged same-sex couples are now able to fill out and file a Notice of Intended Marriage form with the individual whom they have chosen to solemnize their marriage. This starts a compulsory one-month waiting interval which all couples are required to go through prior to marriage. Same-sex couples who registered on DEC-09 will then be able to schedule their marriages for on or after 2018-JAN-09.

The forms have been modified so that:

  • The columns once labeled "Bridegroom" and "Bride" are now labeled "Party 1" and "Party 2."
  • The party description now offers three options: "groom," "bride" and "partner."
  • The line defining gender now has three boxes: "male," "female," and "x."

These dates seemed optimistic back in November. However, they actually happened as predicted.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Image showing types of marriages, by "Pixaline." CC0 Creative Commons, Downloaded from https://pixabay.com/
  2. "Singing breaks out in Australian parliament as marriage equality law is passed," You Tube, 2017-DEC-07, at: https://www.youtube.com/
  3. " 'Historic day for Australia': Australia's first same-sex wedding could happen next year," USA Today, 2017-DEC-07, at: https://www.usatoday.com/
  4. Paul Karp, "Marriage equality law passes Australia's parliament in landslide vote," The Guardian, 2017-DEC-07, at: https://www.theguardian.com/
  5. Peter Marsh, "Same-sex marriage: When will we see the first weddings?, ABC News (Australia), 2017-NOV-16, at: http://www.abc.net.au/
  6. "Same-sex marriage officially signed into law in Australia," BBC, 2017-DEC-08, at: http://www.bbc.com/

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Copyright 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2017-DEC-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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