Marriage equality advocates share their joy at bill passing senate

Advocates for marriage equality have welcomed the passage of Senator Dean Smith’s marriage bill through the senate.

Gathering outside parliament just after the vote was held, politicians from all sides of the chamber said they were overjoyed that after more than a decade of campaigning, and a long drawn out postal survey process, the parliament had finally shown support for marriage equality.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, who put forward the successful marriage bill, said the fight had started long before he got involved, “My first thoughts are absolutely with those who have gone before us.”

Senator Smith said the result was example of how politicians could achieve great things by reaching out across the chamber and working together.

Acknowledging that the postal survey had been a tough time for the LGBTGI community, Senator Smith said he looked forward to happier times, “The joy will come forward and there will be cause for celebration.”

Senator Smith the positive campaign from the YES side of the debate had made politicians jobs easier because it had delivered so many clear and determined personal stories from everyday Australians.

Senator Penny Wong, Labor’s leader in the senate, said today was a day when Australia was being changed for the better.

“This is an important day, and it’s a day of great celebration for so many people across this country.” Senator Wong said, before thanking everyone who worked on the campaign.

The Greens leader Richard Di Natale echoed the comments that it was a joyous time.

“There aren’t many days in this job that fill you with sheer unadulterated joy, but this is one of them. We’ve given the nation so much grief and despair over recent weeks and months, but today we’ve filled Australia with love.

“Love has made its way through the senate, it’s unstoppable now through the house.” Senator Di Natale said.

Anna Brown the co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality described the passage of the bill as a huge victory.

“Today is a huge victory, it’s a huge victory for love, it’s a huge victory for equality and fairness, and for the Yes campaign, and indeed all Australians who voted yes in support of gay and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians, our equality and our dignity.” Brown said.

Brown paid tribute to Senator Smith saying he had an unwavering commitment to the cause, before acknowledging the contributions of Senator Janet Rice, Senator Penny Wong, and Senator Louise Pratt.

“It was truly a historic moment, not only having this legislation pass, but having our representatives in the senate standing up for themselves and everyone in our communities.” Brown said.

Alex Greenwich, co-chair at Marriage Equality Australia, said the momentum that had built through the campaign had powered through the senate and would drive the bill through the House of Representatives.

Holding back tears, the standing campaigner gave an emotional thanks to Senator Smith for his contribution.

“Can I say, as one gay man to another, Dean – thank you, for your immense leadership. This would not have been possible without you. This would not have been possible without someone from your side of politics taking the leadership that you have, to get us to where we are today.” Greenwich said.

Rodney Croome, from just.equal said the journey from the Howard government’s 2004 changes to the marriage law to today had begun with an awful moment.

“Thirteen years ago I was one of those people, together with my fellow LGBTI advocates, who sat and watched in horror and shock, as the senate passed amendments to the marriage act, explicitly entrenching marriage as a union of one man and one woman and banning the recognition of overseas same sex marriages.

“It was an awful moment for us, but never for a second did we believe that that decision reflected the will of the Australian people.”

Croome said marriage equality advocates had fought long and hard to educate Australians on why this issue was important, and the result reflected the good heartedness and generosity of all Australians.

OIP Staff

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