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Same-sex marriage bill passes in Australian Senate

30 November, 2017, 12:50 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Australia Senate Squashes Attempts to Protect Religious Freedom During Same-Sex Marriage Vote

The same-sex marriage bill has passed the senate with 43 votes in favour to 12 against.

The bill allows exemptions for those classed as "religious marriage celebrants" who do not want to perform same-sex ceremonies on the basis of their faith.

Labor Senate leader Penny Wong said the bill's passage was a historic moment.

Debate in the House of Representatives is likely to start on Monday, and a vote is likely before the end of the week. "It's time for our MPs to get this done".

Among the opponents of marriage equality is Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz, who took to the floor after several proposed amendments to the bill were voted down with dramatic margins.

"What [marriage equality] says to young LGBTIQ Australians, what it says to the young man struggling with who he is, or the young woman who feels alone and ashamed, what it says to the children of same-sex couples who feel ostracized", said Wong.

"In a world where there are more tensions between people, our country has offered a loving embrace to its own", an emotional Senator Smith said ahead of the vote. "Whom you love is for you to decide and others to respect".




'Your love is not lesser, and nor are you. "It has been good for us all", Senator Smith said.

Various amendments to the bill - including moves to allow civil celebrants to refuse to perform gay weddings - were defeated in the Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday by a combination of Labor, the Greens, some Coalition senators and some crossbenchers. "It says you're one of us".

Conservatives, including the Nationals MP Andrew Broad, have criticised Turnbull for not doing more to accommodate their demands, but Brandis said the government had decided not to "micro-manage" the process but rather let parliament consider a private member's bill and amendments.

Senators from various parties hugged each other and cried following the vote, with some declaring it the proudest day in their parliamentary careers.

Parliamentarians from both sides had a conscience vote on the bill, and many chose to abstain - including Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, Assistant Social Services Minister Zed Seselja and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

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.

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