AUS­TRALIA’S mod­ern fam­ily

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Front Page - KYLAR LOUSSIKIAN & SHARRI MARK­SON

POLITI­CIANS from all par­ties — in­clud­ing both “Yes’’ and “No’’ cam­paign­ers — united in an emo­tional, tear-soaked vote yes­ter­day to de­liver same-sex mar­riage into law.

The his­toric mo­ment on the floor of Par­lia­ment saw many MPs who were op­posed to same-sex mar­riage em­brace the re­sult of last month’s na­tional mar­riage sur­vey to agree to the law that for­mally recog­nises the new mod­ern Aus­tralian fam­ily. With ac­tivists in­clud­ing Olympic leg­end Ian Thorpe and actor Magda Szuban­ski cheer­ing and singing from the gallery, MPs hugged and kissed to mark the pas­sage of the law.

A tri­umphant Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull said: “What a day for love, for equal­ity, for re­spect. Aus­tralia has done it.” Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten said the na­tion should now unite and de­care: “We are sim­ply Aus­tralians one and all.”

Only four lower house MPs voted against the bill while staunch sup­port­ers of tra­di­tional mar­riage Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son and for­mer PM Tony Ab­bott ef­fec­tively ab­stained by leav­ing the cham­ber be­fore the fi­nal vote.

Same-sex cou­ples can lodge a no­tice of in­tended mar­riage from to­mor­row and will be able to tie the knot from Jan­uary 9.

IT was “a day for love”, Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull de­clared as same-sex mar­riage be­came law in Aus­tralia in a his­toric sit­ting of the fed­eral Par­lia­ment.

Gay mar­riage was over­whelm­ingly sup­ported by Lib­eral, La­bor and the Greens, with only a hand­ful of politi­cians ab­stain­ing or vot­ing no to the law backed by 61.6 per cent of Aus­tralians, end­ing months of cam­paign­ing and de­bate over the is­sue.

“What a day, what a day for love, for equal­ity, for re­spect,” Mr Turn­bull said.

“It is a great mo­ment in our his­tory, a great mo­ment in our po­lit­i­cal his­tory. It is time for more mar­riages, more equal­ity, more love.”

Mar­riage equal­ity ad­vo­cates and celebri­ties, in­clud­ing Olympic hero Ian Thorpe and co­me­dian Magda Szuban­ski, packed the pub­lic gal­leries in Par­lia­ment, singing “We are Aus­tralian” and wav­ing rain­bow flags, to cel­e­brate the pas­sage of the leg­is­la­tion af­ter two weeks of de­bate in the Se­nate and lower house.

Three months af­ter the start of the postal sur­vey, just four MPs — in­de­pen­dent Bob Kat­ter, Lib­eral Rus­sell Broad­bent and Na­tion­als Keith Pitt and David Lit­tleproud — voted no.

Trea­surer Scott Mor­ri­son, for­mer prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott, as­sis­tant min­is­ters Michael Sukkar and Alex Hawke, Lib­eral MPs An­drew Hastie, Kevin An­drews, Rick Wil­son and Na­tional MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen were among the politi­cians who ab­stained from the vote.

Sev­eral amend­ments to add stronger pro­tec­tions for mar­riage cel­e­brants and char­i­ties were voted down, de­spite Mr Turn­bull back­ing a num­ber of the pro­pos­als, as were changes sug­gested by the Greens.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis said un­der the changes to the Mar­riage Act, re­li­gious min­is­ters will be able to refuse to pre­side over same­sex mar­riages.

The first of­fi­cial gay mar­riage can now take place from Jan­uary 9, af­ter the req­ui­site one months’ no­tice to wed is given.

Same-sex mar­riage cam­paign­ers’

loud cheers af­ter the vote in the pub­lic gallery echoed through­out the cor­ri­dors of Par­lia­ment, with emo­tional La­bor politi­cians Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, An­thony Al­banese and Bill Shorten em­brac­ing each other and cel­e­brat­ing with Lib­er­als politi­cians Trent Zim­mer­man, Trevor Evans, Tim Wil­son and War­ren Entsch, who con­sid­ered cross­ing the floor to make the vote a re­al­ity.

Mr Ab­bott’s sister, Syd­ney City coun­cil­lor Chris­tine Forster, was among those cel­e­brat­ing in Can­berra, and is look­ing for­ward to her wed­ding to her fiancee Vir­ginia Ed­wards in the new year. Her brother is at­tend­ing.

“It’s about time the politi­cians re­flected the voice of the peo­ple, let’s see them write it into law now,” she said.

Mr Ab­bott, whose own amend­ment failed to pass, crit­i­cised Mr Turn­bull and Mr Shorten for fail­ing to in­clude stronger re­li­gious pro­tec­tions within the law.

“A prom­ise was made by the lead­ers of this Par­lia­ment and the prom­ise has not ad­e­quately been de­liv­ered upon and that is why this Par­lia­ment is now be­ing called upon to deal with this on the run, as it were, be­cause the prom­ises that were made from the top were not ad­e­quately de­liv­ered upon,” he said.

Szuban­ski, an out­spo­ken same-sex mar­riage cam­paigner, said the vote had left her “a lit­tle bit deliri­ous, it is extraordinary”.

“What has been amaz­ing has been the con­stant en­dorse­ment of LGBTQI peo­ple, first of all that extraordinary vote, then the Se­nate 4-1 in our favour, then, I could see when I watched all of those peo­ple moved to the Yes side of the House, I thought Can­berra was go­ing to tip over,” she said.

I cer­tainly don’t pre­tend to be an overnight con­vert sup­port­ing same­sex mar­riage, but I am pledged to re­spect and to fa­cil­i­tate ver­dict of the Aus­tralian the peo­ple ... There should be a clear dis­tinc­tion be­tween mar­riage as un­der­stood by the Church the and mar­riage as recog­nised by state. On that ba­sis, I am look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing sister Chris­tine the mar­riage of my to her part­ner Vir­ginia some­time early in the new year. Tony Ab­bott

The mes­sage to­day to ev­ery gay per­son in this na­tion is clear: we love you and we re­spect you. Your re­la­tion­ship is recog­nised by the and Com­mon­wealth as be­ing as le­git­i­mate be­long. honourable as any­one else’s. You (above) Mal­colm Turn­bull

Lib­eral MP War­ren Entsch hugs Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull.

Pic­tures: Kym Smith, Lukas Coch

Lib­eral MP Trent Zim­mer­man watches on as War­ren Entsch em­braces La­bor’s Linda Bur­ney, and (left) the de­cid­ing vote.

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