Australia’s parliament has legislated for marriage equality, passing a bill almost unanimously to allow two people, regardless of sex, to marry.
On Thursday the House of Representatives passed a cross-party bill after an unprecedented national postal survey gave unstoppable momentum to legislate the real, social reform.
Australia, which changed the law in 2004 to say that marriage is only between a man and a woman, now joins 24 countries which recognise same-sex marriage.
The lower house passed marriage equality with almost all members of the governing Liberal-National Coalition joining Labor, the Greens, and crossbench MPs in a free vote to pass the bill which cleared the Senate last week without amendment.
The only no votes were Coalition MPs Russell Broadbent, Keith Pitt, David Littleproud and independent MP Bob Katter.
Tony Smith declared the vote carried since fewer than five MPs opposed it.
With singing in the crowd and the gallery unable to hold silence the bill was eventually passed with rapturous cheering from both the gallery and the floor.
Australian MP’s were in floods of tears, and as many were wearing the rainbow flag and the Campaign Yes Badges, then the gallery burst out in song while the floor could only look up and the song flooding the parliament.
The Parliament was not without opposition, all of the amendments to the bill that included secular and state marriage officers cannot opt out on religious grounds which would have given grace for those who wished to discriminate on the grounds of religious faith and also open up grounds to discriminate.
Rejecting this and others meant that the bill passed overwhelmingly as there were enough protections in place like most bills around the globe for religious parties who wish to opt out to be able too.
The Bill will now go to the Governor-General (The Queens Representative) for royal assent.