AUSTRALIA has officially become the twenty sixth country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.
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On a historical day on Thursday last week, the House of Representatives passed the bill that has enabled same-sex couples to marry in Australia.
The first legal same-sex marriages will take place in Australia from 9 January 2018 after Attorney-General George Brandis stated that couples had to give one month’s notice of their intention to marry.
However, after Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed the bill into law on Friday, all existing marriages performed overseas will be recognised at midnight on Friday night.
In a day full of drama, the lower house officially voted on the bill that had come about through the successful “yes” vote in the recent plebiscite where 61.6% of those who completed the survey, voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in Australia.
The federal seat of Paterson, which encompasses most of the News of the Area’s geographical reach, had a stronger “yes” vote than the national rate with 65.5% and this was supported by federal member Meryl Swanson in the official vote in parliament on Thursday.
In an unusually strong show of united support in the House of Representatives, only four members officially voted “no” while ten members, including ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, abstained from voting.
In the end, the final vote was an emphatic result.
In scenes unseen before, the public gallery celebrated the historic moment by singing the chorus of The Seekers timeless classic “I Am Australian”.
Simon Tarrant, a Paterson born and raised man, told News Of The Area, “This has been the toughest few months of my life and has taken an immeasurable toll on not only me, but my community.”
“I was so happy when the survey results were announced and then again when the legislation went through, but the main feeling was relief and exhaustion.”
“I couldn’t match the energy of a lot of my community simply because of how much this has affected me.”
“I’m looking forward to moving on in a more equal and just Australia where we can all enjoy a level playing field,” he said.
By Rachael VAUGHAN