Australia becomes the 26th country in the world to allow same-sex marriage nationwide. Thirteen years after changing the Marriage Act to explicitly forbid same-sex unions, federal politicians voted to undo the last major piece of discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.
Australian Parliament finally approved same sex marriage, based on a a nationwide referendum organized last month. The referendum was approved by 62 percent of registered voters and ensured that the parliament would take up the measure. 130 to 140 members of parliament voted "yes." The public galleries sustained applauses for several minutes. A handful of MPs - including former prime minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Scott Morrison - chosed to abstain. During the same-sex marriage debate, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his long term partner Ryan Bolger.
Tim Wilson and Ryan Bolger after proposal
"What a day! What a day for love, for equality, for respect! Australia has done it," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a speech following the vote. "It's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect," he added. Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis described the vote as "a truly historic moment." He advised the law would formally change on Saturday. The country's first gay marriages are expected in January. Later, Mr Turnbull put the momentous social reform in the same category as the 1967 referendum to count Indigenous people in the census, and said he was proud it occurred under his leadership.