The land Down-Under has given a huge thumbs-up to marriage equality! In an historic (and controversial) mail-in vote, over 12.7 million Australians, nearly 80 percent of those eligible voted and a whopping 61.6 percent have voted ‘YES’ to have Australia join every other western country in legalizing gay marriage.
The results were announced on Wednesday morning and LGBTQ Aussies and allies congregated to celebrate their victory. At the largest gathering, in Central Sydney Park, thousands of people cheered with pride for their nation. Chris Lewis, 60, an artist from Sydney said, “This is our proudest moment as gay and lesbian Australians.”
Celebrities also voiced their excitement as the results were announced. Aussie pop icon Kylie Minogue tweeted: “Love is love, always was love, always will be love.” Ellen DeGeneres, who is married to Australian actress Portia de Rossi tweeted: “It’s a g’day. Way to go Australia.” Five-time Olympic gold medalist and proudly out Australian Ian Thorpe tweeted: “Thank you, Australia #yes.” Thorpe was a vocal and tireless advocate for same-sex marriage during a long and often bruising campaign that was hit with ugly, bigoted rhetoric from the anti-gay marriage side, reminiscent of Trump’s alt-right base.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull whose own party has long resisted gay marriage, publicly announced his ‘yes’ vote, telling his country after the results, “The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly ‘yes’ for marriage equality,” adding, “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love.” Turnbull had originally called the national survey as a way to put pressure on his own party to legalize gay marriage.
Expectations are high within the government that there are now sufficient votes to pass the legislation to legalize marriage for LGBT Australians by December. While the mail-in vote did not guarantee the passage of the law, however, Parliament would be hard-pressed to delay or resist passing legislation after the resounding ‘yes’ victory.
Indeed, the majority party in Parliament is composed of far-right members who have long resisted gay rights, not to mention gay marriage. Homosexual activity was illegal until 1997 in the country. The vote itself was considered an offensive waste of money by many on the left who felt that the 122 million Australian tab for a vote that was not binding, was also deeply hurtful to LGBT as it allowed the majority to vote for the rights of a minority. Indeed, already there is talk on the far-right of ‘bakers’ and ‘photographers,’ in an attempt to follow in the devious, bigoted steps of the American far-right.
For now, we celebrate a very g’day for Australian LGBTQ and for equality!
Below, a clip from one our fave films set in Australia. Finally, indeed!