The Australian Senate has passed a
same-sex marriage bill.
Senators voted 43-12 for the bill,
making it the first marriage equality bill to clear either federal
chamber after more than 20 failed attempts.
Passage comes two weeks after the
government announced results of a postal vote on whether it should
extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. An overwhelming
majority (61.6%) of Australians who participated voted “yes.”
Supporters of the legislation defeated
attempts to attach amendments to the bill aimed at undermining the
rights of married gay couples.
Authored by out Liberal Senator Dean
Smith, the bill was introduced the day after results of the postal
vote were announced. Smith said that the lack of amendments showed
the bill had achieved the right balance between equality and
Openly gay Senator Penny Wong said that
passage sent a message to the LGBT community: “Your love is not
lesser, and nor are you. It says you are one of us.”
Anna Brown, co-chair of the Equality
Campaign, called the Senate vote “a huge victory for love, for
equality and fairness, for the yes campaign and indeed all
Australians who voted yes in support of [LGBT] Australians, our
equality and our dignity.”
The legislation now heads to the House
of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily next week.