A non-binding survey of Australian citizens taken in November showed that the nation was overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage. On Thursday night, Australia’s Parliament passed a historic vote to legalize it.
The New York Times reports that the new legislation passed through the House of Representatives, with only four votes against. The law changes the definition of marriage from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people,” and recognizes the legality of same-sex marriages performed in other countries immediately.
Since 2004, there have been 22 attempts to change the marriage laws, and the final debate around this vote lasted four days. Attempts were made by conservative lawmakers to add amendments to the new legislation intended to “safeguard religious freedoms” for people who oppose gay marriage, but they were unsuccessful. Australia finally came through:
“This belongs to us all,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage who had previously failed to get it legalized, said on Thursday. “This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day.”
Following the success of the vote, the public gallery erupted in the popular anthem “I Am Australian,” so if you’re not crying yet, check it out: