An emotional morning in Australia’s Senate saw the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation after the country voted ‘yes’ to marriage equality in a postal survey.
Gay senator, Dean Smith has pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage and introduced his bill yesterday.
But during a second reading of the bill in the Senate today, Smith delivered an emotional speech about the issue.
A number of cross-party Senators spoke in support of the bill and warned that making too many amendments to the bill to protect religious freedoms will stall the process. Some argued that it would enshrine discriminatory policies agains LGTBI people.
Smith received a standing ovation from all sides of the chamber and the public gallery.
‘Yesterday we saw a glimpse of the country we all yearn for, a country that is fair-minded, generous and accepting. We saw a country that was willing to embrace its hopes rather than hold on to its fears,’ Smith said in his speech.
‘Many of us across this chamber have seen something of that great Australian story that compelled us into public life. For the liberals and conservatives who yearn for change, we see in this result the shining city on a hill with more freedom, more acceptance and more grace.’
A long line of Senators went up to Smith after his speech to congratulate him, including the Labor Party’s Penny Wong and the Greens’ Janet Rice.
Emotions running high
Wong ‘s emotional response to yesterday’s results announcement was captured and went viral. The normally ‘no nonsense‘ senator said she was embarrassed by her reaction. She spoke in the Senate after Smith, promising her two daughters, ‘I work for and fight for the world I want for you’.
‘Today is a proud day for Australia, a day of joy and a day of grace,’ Wong said.
‘A day for all Australians to be proud of themselves and our nation, a nation that has shown itself to be as generous and big-hearted as we had hoped.’
— SBS News (@SBSNews) November 15, 2017
Greens Senator Janet Rice draped a rainbow flag over her shoulders for her impassioned speech about the bill. Her words about the LGBTIQ community had her trending on Twitter during her speech.
Rice spoke about the importance of not leaving trans, intersex and queer people out of the conversation.
Janet Rice putting bi, trans and intersex people first. Janet Rice talking about queer/questioning/genderfluid/gender diverse people. I am so here for this. I needed this so much.
— sam langford (@_slangers) November 15, 2017
‘We don’t need a yes vote to know that we are worthy of equality. Our community is one of the strongest that there is. We’re more resilient than you know,’ Rice said.
‘We have endured and now Australians have said yes, they agree with us. They have demonstrated that they think everybody should be treated equally under the law.’
.@janet_rice finishes her speech to applause and hugs from fellow Senators. Thank you for all that you do for our community, Janet. We love you!
— Queer Greens Vic 🌈 (@QueerGreensVic) November 15, 2017
Debate on the bill has been paused and will resume later in the afternoon. The Senate is likely to vote on the bill later today.