Rain­bow cel­e­bra­tions for mar­riage rul­ing

Daily News - - WORLD -

SYD­NEY: Aus­tralians have voted over­whelm­ingly for same-sex mar­riage, pav­ing the way for leg­is­la­tion by the end of this year and spark­ing rain­bow cel­e­bra­tions to­day, with peo­ple wear­ing wed­ding dresses and se­quinned suits and declar­ing “our love is real”.

Aus­tralia will be­come the 26th na­tion to for­malise the unions if the leg­is­la­tion is passed by par­lia­ment, which is ex­pected de­spite some vo­cal op­po­si­tion within the gov­ern­ment’s con­ser­va­tive right wing.

Thou­sands of peo­ple in a cen­tral Syd­ney park broke into a loud cheer, hugged and cried as Aus­tralia’s chief statis­ti­cian re­vealed live over a big screen that 61.6% of vot­ers sur­veyed favoured mar­riage equal­ity, with 38.4% against.

Australian Olympic swim­mer Ian Thorpe, who came out as gay three years ago, said the re­sult was a huge re­lief.

“It means that the way you feel for an­other per­son, who­ever that may be, is equal,” Thorpe said at the Syd­ney cel­e­bra­tions.

The vol­un­tary poll is non-bind­ing but Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull im­me­di­ately said he would ful­fill a pledge to raise a bill in par­lia­ment with the aim of pass­ing laws by Christ­mas.

The re­sult marks a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for gay rights in Aus­tralia, where it was il­le­gal in some states to en­gage in ho­mo­sex­ual ac­tiv­ity un­til 1997.

“It’s a g’day. Way to go Aus­tralia,” tweeted US TV host Ellen DeGeneres, who is mar­ried to Australian ac­tress Por­tia de Rossi.

Al­most 80% of the coun­try’s el­i­gi­ble vot­ers took part in the sur­vey.

Mark Barry, 59, wiped away tears as he took in the re­sult with his part­ner of 35 years, Ger­rard Boller.

“I know a cel­e­brant who is go­ing to be very happy about this,” Barry said.

Irish-born Qan­tas Air­ways chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Joyce, one of the few openly gay busi­ness lead­ers in Aus­tralia, told the Syd­ney crowd that the re­sult was “an amaz­ing out­come” and urged Turn­bull to move quickly on leg­is­la­tion.

Catholic Arch­bishop of Syd­ney An­thony Fisher said he was “deeply dis­ap­pointed that the likely re­sult will be leg­is­la­tion to fur­ther de­con­struct mar­riage and fam­ily in Aus­tralia.” – Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Peo­ple cel­e­brate af­ter it was an­nounced the ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians sup­port same-sex mar­riage in a sur­vey, pav­ing the way for leg­is­la­tion for the coun­try to for­malise the unions by the end of the year, at a rally in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, to­day.

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