When will Australia allow gay marriage?

Marriage for All: Australia Says "Yes"

Australia says “yes” to marriage for all

Canberra Australia made history twice on Wednesday: Not only did 61.6 percent, and thus a clear majority of the Australian population, support the introduction of marriage for all. The turnout also reached record highs. Almost 80 percent of those entitled to vote, or 12.7 million people, took part in the survey by letter. That is unique in the history of the country. Commentators saw the decision not only as a clear vote in favor of the introduction of marriage for everyone, but also as a sign of the need for more direct participation by the people.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is convinced that Australia voted “for fairness, for commitment, for love”. The vote must be respected by parliament. It is now up to the government to “deliver”. A corresponding legislative proposal should be passed before Christmas.

However, it remains to be seen whether this intention can be realized. A group of conservative politicians has announced that they will submit a counter-proposal or want to significantly change the proposal. This is the only way to guarantee “freedom of religion”, said the lead Senator James Paterson. The Conservatives wanted to ensure that "a baker cannot be forced to bake a cake for a same-sex couple in the face of his religious rejection of marriage for all," as has happened in other countries, according to another politician. The plans for a counter-proposal were sharply criticized by the proponents. He opened "a new door to discrimination against homosexuals while another closes".

With a resounding “yes”, a long period of deep disagreement in Australian politics enters a new phase. The questioning was actually not necessary - Parliament could have voted on its own. The elaborate survey had been ordered by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott before he was put out of office by Turnbull in 2015. At the time, critics said that the conservative Abbott - a fundamentalist Catholic and uncompromising opponent of marriage for all - wanted to sow “discord” among the people in advance of the decision.

However, he and his followers have only partially succeeded in this. A well-financed association of conservative politicians and religiously motivated opponents acted with at times absurd arguments and increasing aggressiveness against equality. Proponents complained of verbal and, in some cases, even physical assault. Activist Tom Sebo said the main sufferers were young homosexuals whose affection for their partners had been questioned by opponents. Some opponents had labeled same-sex love "perverted" and compared homosexuals to pedophiles. There were also derailments on the part of the proponents.

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Abbott's sister Christine Foster was attacked. Although she is a lesbian herself and - much to the chagrin of her brother - was committed to the introduction of marriage for everyone. Abbott saw on Wednesday in his own constituency in Sydney how little his negative stance coincides with the opinion of the local population: 84 percent of those entitled in his constituency had spoken out in favor of equal rights for homosexual couples.