FINALLY. Australia joined the rest of the civilised world and voted to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry.
We voted in a SORT OF plebiscite – which I can only describe as a glorified opinion poll. A plebiscite you see is supposed to be a compulsory vote – that is non-binding. But OURS was non-compulsory – AND non-binding (and sent in the freakin’ mail). However our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously vowed to honour the result of the survey – and has declared he and his wife Lucy voted yes.
The survey was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics – the same group that conduct our census every five years. Now they don’t have the greatest track record after their system crashed in 2016. But they did assure us they had learnt from their errors and would seamlessly co-ordinate the same-sex marriage postal survey.
And kudos to them… they did.
What an incredible day for Australia, my friends, friends of friends, possible future family members, family of friends and friends of family (and everybody else). We had a 79.5% participation rate across the nation. My home state of Western Australia had a respectable majority of 63.7% which makes me happy. The state in which I currently reside (NSW) had the most dismal ‘yes’ response with 57.8% – but a majority is a majority. The rest are as follows…
Being a journalist and following this debate right the way through I thought i’d explain what happens now.
So this ‘yes’ vote does not actually mean same-sex marriage is immediately legal. Bureaucratically speaking, Australia is no closer to same-sex marriage.
A private members bill will be introduced to parliament tomorrow – and from there parliamentarians will be able to vote on it. You might have heard of something called the ‘Smith’ bill – well that is in fact the bill to legalise same-sex marriage. It’s called so because it was developed by Western Australian Liberal Senator Dean Smith.
However Conservative Liberal MP James Patterson has introduced a bill to protect ‘religious freedoms’ which would give those who oppose same-sex marriage to deny same-sex couples of their services in relation to weddings. It would also allow parents to pull their children out of sexual education classes which teach about same sex relationships. Among other things…
Ultimately… the war is not over yet. But if our Government manages to keep just this one promise – for once in it’s bloody life. We should have some weddings before Christmas!!
Once again – I’m over the moon!