Following last month’s national mail-in referendum that called on parliament to enact legislation “legalizing” same-sex “marriage,” the Australian government has followed through and adopted an amendment to the national Marriage Act.
The final vote came after 55 hours of debate during which a handful of conservative MPs argued that the bill in front of them, called the This is Australia Act, would erode religious liberty. Their efforts to strengthen religious liberty protections failed.
The Marriage Act was amended to provide some semblance of religious freedom. Those amendments state:
- Under the new laws, ministers of religion and religious marriage celebrants will be able to act in accordance with their religious beliefs about marriage.
- Religious bodies will be able to act in accordance with their doctrines, tenets and beliefs in providing facilities goods and services in connection with marriage.
As soon as the final vote tally was read, making the act official, legislators began hugging each other and crying in joy. Then, they joined in singing songs with members of the public who watched from the gallery.
In the end, only four MPs voted against the measure, while five others abstained due to the overwhelming support in their constituencies and their personal opposition. The new law will go into effect Saturday, at which point same-sex couples may file the one-month notice of intent to “marry.”
The first same-sex “marriages” will likely be performed Jan. 9.