The Australian senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage down under. Several conservative amendments filed to “protect religious freedom” were easily voted down.
Australia’s religious right had pushed the amendments which would have allowed for civil celebrants to refuse to perform same-sex ceremonies, provided legal protections for people who think gay and lesbian relationships are wrong, and would have allowed parents to pull children from class if the topic of same-sex marriage was mentioned.
A cross-party coalition involving all the major political parties rejected the amendments by a large margin. Even some of the most vociferously anti-gay politicians joined the “no” vote to kill the school amendment.
At the end of the day – and two weeks after the country voted in favor of marriage equality in a postal poll – the senate passed the bill to formally legalize same-sex marriage. 61.6% of Australian voters cast “yes” ballots in favor of marriage equality.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass next week. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a marriage equality supporter, has promised to sign the legislation as soon as possible, allowing same-sex couples to get married in time for Christmas.