Marriage equality is now law in Australia. Just before 6 p.m. local time on Thursday, the bill to change the Marriage Act passed the House of Representatives with a landslide majority and just four members voting against. Supporters burst into celebration as the result came through.
“Watching this pass live was magical,” said Reddit user M_as-in_Mancy191. “This was my generation’s moon landing to watch live. I’m ugly crying and I don’t care.”
The vote comes 13 years after the government changed the Marriage Act to specifically outlaw same-sex marriages. Since then, three bills went through parliament that would have overturned the ban, but none of them succeeded. Change came after the center-right Liberal party decided to hold a non-binding national survey on whether to overturn the law. The result, which was announced last month, saw 62 percent of Australians express their support for the move in a turnout of around 79.5 percent of eligible voters.
The bill is now expected to receive royal assent. After that point, gay couples will be free to register for a ceremony and then get married 30 days later, the same procedure as heterosexual couples.
After the final vote was counted, the public gallery in the House of Representatives burst into a chorus of “I Am Australian,” a popular 1987 song by The Seekers:
In Federation Square in Melbourne, people gathered to watch the result on a large TV screen:
Emotions ran high as the historic decision was announced:
Some even celebrated with face paints:
Alice Bennett and her partner Miranda Hill kissed as the result came through:
Across the world, others expressed their support:
During the debate itself, around 100 members of parliament spoke, including Liberal member Tim Wilson, who then proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger, captured in this emotional clip:
Matt King, who played Super Hans in the TV show Peep Show, also expressed his support:
There were some bizarre reactions from the other side of the debate. Bob Katter, a member of parliament that voted against the bill and the leader of “Katter’s Australian Party,” gave an odd interview to ABC in the aftermath of the postal survey, in a video clip that went viral again in the wake of the bill passing:
“Now we can focus on the important things like those bloody crocodiles!” said Reddit user Deeeayegeeayeen.