Yesterday morning, the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the results of the postal survey (plebiscite): the vast majority of Australians voted for legalising same-sex marriage – a historic social change. I’d like remind you that in 2004, the conservative government of Australia, led by John Howard, amended the law to specify that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman. This was contrary to the world trend of the movement for same-sex marriages and relevant legislation. In 2001, such a law was enacted in the Netherlands, in 2003 – in Belgium and some Canadian provinces, in 2004 – in virtually all Canadian provinces. In 2005, such a law was adopted as a national law in Canada, and Spain. These countries were joined in the following years by South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, Luxembourg, the United States of America, Ireland, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Malta, Germany and Taiwan. And also three parts of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Wales) and many states of Mexico.
The right hand of Howard, and later also the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, then as a minister post, and later on as head of government, aggressively rejected the idea of same-sex marriage. However, when Abbott’s position was under threat (and, fortunately for the country, he was overthrown only two years after his election for total incompetence), he said that if the conservative government was reelected, a plebiscite would be held on same-sex marriage. His successor, Malcolm Turnbull, who was pressured by such hardliners in the parliament, as Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Cory Bernardi and Tony Abbott (who managed to retain his parliament seat), decided not to take any chances and organised a postal plebiscite, the results of which you already know. It was a humiliating and expensive procedure, which, however, proved once again the backwardness of these people. They had been told that such issues should resolved by free vote in the parliament, but they were not convinced. A nationwide poll was required for them to understand what the Australian people thought about it.
Yesterday, the bill on same-sex marriage was presented to the Senate for consideration. Good to note that Prime Minister Turnbull called on parliamentarians to pass the law before Christmas. Just a few weeks to go. After many years of procrastination and hassle, this is almost nothing. Victory is almost assured.
Yesterday, Australia was celebrating. Cairns was no exception. Representatives of the LGBT community and their allies gathered at the Centre of Contemporary Arts, including the premises of cafe Paradiso, to celebrate the plebiscite’s outcome. Here are a couple of pictures.