Australia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Finn Hogan, Contributor

On December 9th, the Australian Parliament voted on whether or not they should legalize same-sex marriage. The final verdict was yes.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, known supporter of the LGBT community, was ecstatic. “What a day for love, for equality, for respect! Australia has done it… This belongs to us all. This is Australia- fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect for every one of us.”

The House of Representatives showed tremendous support for same-sex marriage during the vote, passing with 130-140 members voting in favor.

Couples hoping to get married need to give a notice at least one month in advance, making it so that same-sex couples can get married as soon as January 9th.

One such couple, Neville Wills (age 98) and Ian Fenwicke (age 74), have been together for 39 years. Wills told Washington Post reporters that they will “get the legal relationship straightened out in January.” He and Fenwicke reminded people of the importance of marriage, not just from a romantic standpoint but a legal standpoint as well. Marriage comes with certain rights, such as access and medical consultation when a partner is hospitalized. Wills stated, “The reason is to have a legal relationship that’s not in any way challenged — and, of course, we love each other.”

The Australian government sent out a ballad in early September to get a sense of what voting Australians wanted. The ballad ended on November 15th, and revealed that over 63% of voters supported same-sex marriage.

This vote makes Australia the 26th nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The legal definition of marriage in Australia is now changed from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people.” Prime Minister Turnbull said to the public that “This is a great day — it belongs to every Australian.”