It's been a long time coming and a pretty rough road for LGBTIQ+ Australians, but same-sex marriage is set to become legal in Australia within the month. This thing is actually happening.
At approximately 6pm AEST today, the House of Representatives in Federal Parliament held a final vote to finally, belatedly, once and for all, pass the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 on its third reading. So what does this mean? To pull directly from the bill, it will officially redefine the Marriage Act 1961's definition of marriage from 'the union of a man and a woman' to the non-gendered 'union of two people'.
The bill has been floating around parliament for a few weeks now. It was passed by the Senate on November 29 and has been debated in the House of Reps since Monday, November 4. Members have spent most of this week reading and discussing amendments to the bill — mostly ones related to religious freedom — of which none have been passed.
To make it legal, the law needs to be ratified by the Governor-General, which could even happen this week. If all goes to plan, the ABC predicts same-sex marriages could start happening from January 8, 2018.
The bill entered parliament after 61.6 percent of Aussies — that's a tidy 7,817,247 people — voted in favour same-sex marriage being legalised in the national postal vote survey. You can find a break-down of the votes for various electorates and the participation rates for different age groups on the ABS' survey results website.
Cue the celebrations. We can practically hear the rainbow confetti cannons and collective cries of relief for the queer community from here (although, to be fair, our office is very close to Oxford Street).