Australian Senate passes marriage equality bill

Australia Senate Squashes Attempts to Protect Religious Freedom During Same-Sex Marriage Vote

Senator Eric Abetz says the senate missed an opportunity to create a unifying moment for the Australian people by rejecting all of the amendments put forward in the marriage bill debate.

There have been cheers and hugs as the same-sex marriage bill passes the Senate with an overwhelming majority.

On the same day, Liberal Party Senator Dean Smith introduced his Consensus Marriage Equality Bill into the Senate.

According to reports, the bill receive support 43-12 in the Senate.

Wong urged the lower house to follow the Senate's lead, to vote for a bill that reflected Australians' desire for equality.

Australia got closer to legalising marriage equality. But the impositions on speech and religious liberty the United States has experienced in just two years since the Obergefell decision could happen in one fell swoop if Parliament passes legislation now under consideration, Shelton said. Your love is not lesser, and nor are you.

"Despite millions of Australian receiving their postal votes in the mail, there were many who did not receive their forms and so were deprived of their right of participating in this survey", Burston said.

Senator Matt Canavan said he was "sceptical that we could trust the political process" to enshrine religious freedoms.

It also includes a clause where "religious marriage celebrants" are not required to officiate same-sex weddings if it violates tenets of their faith.

Senators were overcome with emotion on Wednesday as the bill sailed through the upper house.

Labor senator Louise Pratt praised the activist movement which had led to legislative change.

On the other side of the debate, Labor Senate leader Penny Wong said that the law was important because of "what it means for all of us - what it says to young LGBTIQ Australians, what it says to the young man struggling with who he is or the young woman who feels alone and ashamed, what it says to the children of same-sex couples who feel ostracised".

Conservatives, including the Nationals MP Andrew Broad, have criticised Turnbull for not doing more to accommodate their demands, but Brandis said the government had decided not to "micro-manage" the process but rather let parliament consider a private member's bill and amendments.

A total of 17 senators, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, abstained from the vote.

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