What transpired today, at 10am EST, was truly historic.
Today marks a departure from the battle for equality. Australia has voted yes for marriage equality, in one of the most divisive political agendas the nation has seen. 61.6% of the population who voted in the same sex marriage plebiscite voted in favour of marriage equality.
As someone in the yes camp, I could not be more joyous at this result.
So what does it mean, now that Australia has voted in favour of same sex marriage?
It means that parliament must introduce a bill in the Lower House on the issue. It is our politicians’ duties to uphold their word to the Australian public and honour our say in this vote. It is the duty of the Australian parliament to honour a human right under the United Nations Human Rights Commission, where individuals have the freedom to marry.
Let’s just be clear on one thing though. This is not Malcolm Turnbull’s victory. This is a victory for those of us who truly value and believe in equality. Who are fighting for the marginalised and taking progressive steps to educate and depict that normal isn’t hetero. Normal does not have a preference in gender or sexuality. It shouldn’t and it never has. The real victory for Malcolm Turnbull in our eyes will be when a bill is passed in Parliament and it becomes law that same sex couples can legally marry in Australia.
I really do hope, that with today’s win, comes a more pronounced focus on fostering a society that values equality and freedom. What has gone hand in hand with the marriage equality plebiscite is the religious freedom argument. While James Paterson thankfully withdrew his marriage amendment 2017 bill, that would give the wedding industry a get out of jail free card, in terms of being allowed to humiliate a same sex couple by not providing them services in the lead up to their wedding; why is it that in a country that is secular, so many tantrums are thrown?
Section 116 of the Australian constitution states that The Commonwealth cannot make any laws that establish or impose religious observance. Wasn’t James Paterson’s proposed bill doing just that? How is legalising same sex marriage going to impinge on religious freedom? Isn’t it interesting to note that 40% of same sex couples identify as Christian?
It’s a momentous occasion in Australia. I truly do hope the marriage equality bill passes and it becomes law that same sex couples can legally marry. The right to legal recognition of marriage shouldn’t depend on whether you’re marrying a man or a woman. What is my right just because I identify as straight shouldn’t exist. Marriage should be equal for everyone.