A few weeks ago, the person or persons of Australia went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted “YES” on a referendum to legalize marriage equality throughout the country. It was great news for LGBTQ Australians and their advocates, and people celebrated accordingly.
Marriage equality supporter and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young struggled to hold back tears as she spoke recently on the verge of the bill’s passage.
Paying tribute to Robert James “Bob” Brown, the first out gay legislator in Australia’s parliament, Hanson-Young choked up as she talked about the importance of continuing Brown’s work in fighting for a more equal and accepting world.
“This parliament has come such a long way. Twenty bills have been introduced to reverse this awful statute, ” she said, referring to Australian Marriage Act, which banned same-sex matrimony. “Seven of them, embarrassingly so, in my name.”
After years of failed efforts to overrule or revise that law, victory is within reach.
“Millions of Australians have fought for this reform to happen. Inquiries after investigations, protesting on the street, meeting with members of parliament, lobbying in their workplaces and voting ‘yes.’ It is now time for the Senate to do our job, to get this done, ” she said during the floor speech, wiping tears from her eyes, adding that “discrimination to some demeans us all.”
I guess I shouldn’t have worn mascara. Oops! [?]
— Sarah Hanson-Young (@ sarahinthesen8) November 27, 2017
Despite the victorious vote, same-sex marriage still isn’t legal in Australia — at least not until the bill passes.
The people have spoken, but it won’t be until their elected representatives take action on the Marriage Amendment( Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill currently sitting in Australia’s parliament.
There’s little doubt that a bill of some sort will pass — operating afoul of the people’s election is a massive political risk likely not worth taking — but adversaries of wedding equality want to carve out “religious freedom” exemptions designed to allow for continued discrimination against same-sex couples. Equality proponents are doing their best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The Senate’s stated aim is to pass a bill sometime this week. In the meantime, you can watch Hanson-Young’s powerful, emotional speech below.
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