#LoveWins In Australia

The+rainbow+flag%2C+representing+the+LGBT%2B+community.

By Ludovic Bertron from New York City, Usa [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The rainbow flag, representing the LGBT+ community.

Sonia Rao, Opinion Editor

Rainbow flags, singing and dancing, celebrations everywhere on November 15th, 2017  marked a historic day for not only Australians, but the whole world.  In a historic two-month poll, Australians voted overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage, with 61.1% of citizens voting yes to the question, “Should the marriage law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” Over 12.7 million people (79.5% of eligible voters) voted in the poll over the eight-week time period, with about 7.8 million people voting in support of same-sex marriage, and 4.9 million voting against it.

After a long, bitter debate about amending Australia’s Marriage Act of 1961, which only recognizes heterosexual marriages, the issue of same-sex marriage was transferred to a voluntary postal vote.  The vote itself was controversial because same-sex marriage supporters said the postal vote was unnecessary when Parliament had the ability to debate the issue directly.   Participation in this postal vote was higher than 70% in 146 out of 150 Australian electorates.  Only 17 electorates were not in support of changing the law.  Two campaigns emerged in Australia during the two-month voting period.  The “Yes” Campaign argued that the issue was a debate centered around equality, while the “No” Campaign focused on family and schools.  The bill meant to amend the Marriage Act by allowing same-sex marriage is currently being debated in Australian Parliament, and is set to be passed by the end of 2017.

“They’re a little bit late on the game, but I’m happy to hear that gay marriage is finally legalized in Australia!” Junior Brittney Gonzalez stated when asked to share her feelings on this recent event.  Hopefully this event will bring forth a new wave of much-needed acceptance and inclusivity to both Australia and the rest of the world.