I do! I do! Senate votes yes to Marriage Equality

It's a Yes from them and a Yes from the Federal Senate today as the Marriage Equality Bill was passed 43-12. Hatch photo.
It's a Yes from them and a Yes from the Federal Senate today as the Marriage Equality Bill was passed 43-12. Hatch photo.

The Same Sex Marriage Bill passed the Senate 43 – 12 without amendment today.

The Bill must now wait until next week – courtesy of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s  brief suspension of proceedings – before it can be tabled in the Lower House of Federal Parliament when it resumes sittings.

After what has for many been a lifetime of uncertainty and 

rejection, the legislation is expected to sail through the lower house without amendment.

Senator Penny Wong delivered a moving speech to the Senate early today, saying “the Australian people voted to lessen discrimination, not to extend it” – her response to senators that insisted the bill include sections to guarantee religious freedoms.

Though the result was inevitable it was impossible not to sense a collective holding of breath by many as they waited to hear the official outcome of the vote for equality.

Some senators erupted in tears of joy, relieved at the outcome they had just witnessed after months of soul-destroying negativity and a sometimes bitterly fought campaign in the divisive postal survey. Some among the senators who voted against looked none too happy though others seemed to feel it was an occasion to for laughter.

Social media came alive with comment welcoming the passage of the Bill, though there were also some scathing words from citizens for senators who tried to push amendments that attempted to limit the scope of the victory by guaranteeing the right of celebrants to discriminate:

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We cannot guess whether the Bill was also pass the Lower House by the end of next week, but this much is certain: today, LGBTQ Australians can feel one giant step closer to true equality. But the wait will feel terribly like the silence as one awaits the dropping of that fabled second boot. 

– Blair Cowen

Top photo: It’s a Yes from them and a Yes from the Federal Senate today as the Marriage Equality Bill was passed 43-12. Hatch photo.