Editorial November 30 2017

This was the moment of joy captured in Canberra as the Australian Senate said a resounding “Yes”.

The Australian public suffered months of pain during the postal survey on same-sex marriage purely to return a vote most expected in the first place.

The Australian public said it supported same-sex marriage. Loud and clear.

The ball was then put firmly back in the court of our politicians to do their duty ….. where it should have been all along.

This week the fight for equal rights overcame one of the last remaining hurdles.

On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, the Australian Senate passed the bill to legalise same-sex marriage making national history.

In unusual scenes for the Senate a large public gallery clapped and cheered. Senators of all political persuasions openly hugged, cried, smiled and congratulated each other.

Liberal senator Dean Smith and Labor senator Penny Wong embraced.

Senator Wong described it as a day of “great celebration”.

"It says to so many Australians: this Parliament, this country, accept you for who you are. Your love is not lesser and nor are you. It says you are one of us," Senator Wong said

Ultimately, the bill was passed in resounding fashion, 43 to 12.

A final vote will be held in the House of Representatives next week.

The 12 senators sitting on the ‘No’ side of the house included Wollongong-based senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. 

This was despite a resounding Yes vote right across the Illawarra and South Coast.

Senator Fierravanti-Wells was sitting alongside Senator Eric Abetz, one of the most passionate and prominent supporters of the ‘No’ campaign.

Senator Abetz had pledged throughout the postal survey he would be guided by the Tasmanian people, who also voted a resounding “yes” with 63.6 per cent in favour of same-sex marriage.

Senator Abetz contested he ultimately had a right to do so given the Senate failed to support “even very modest amendments put forward to ensure protections”. Their votes will be recorded for history and only history and their voters will judge them.

That final vote is expected to pass the House of Representatives next week. This should finally bring an end to the debate once and for all. 

Most importantly, it will bring equality. After all, love is love.