Rainbow celebrations for marriage ruling
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
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.