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Published: 15 November 2017
Author: Ashleigh Kemp

Australia votes YES to marriage equality – now what?

Today the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced that 61.6% of voters said yes to marriage equality, with 133 out of 150 electorates having a majority of yes votes.

Scenes of joy are unfolding across the country, as those who have campaigned for marriage equality celebrate this historic milestone. It has been a long time coming, with the changes to the Marriage Act 1961 to exclude all but “a man and a woman” from marriage in Australia being made by John Howard’s government in 2004.

However, there is still a way to go before marriage equality is legal. In order for marriage equality to be implemented, the Parliament must vote to amend section 5 of the Marriage Act 1961, to include persons other than “a man and a woman”.

It remains to be seen if members of the liberal-national coalition who oppose marriage equality will respect the result of the survey and vote yes. There is concern that those who oppose marriage equality will attempt to frustrate the process, or include ‘religious protections’ which would make discrimination against LGBTIQ people allowable.

Thankfully, it appears that group of politicians is only a small minority, and a recent survey by ABC indicates amendments to allow marriage equality would easily pass both houses

Both houses of parliament next sit on 27 November to 7 December, meaning legislation could be passed before Christmas. The senate is sitting this week, which means debate on a private members bill could start in the upper house.

Ryan Carlisle Thomas and Stringer Clark are proud to support marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBTIQ community. We welcome the results of the postal survey and hope that amendments to allow marriage equality are enacted swiftly.