Australian parliament spontaneously breaks into song as same-sex marriage legalised
Australia’s parliament broke into celebration as a law permitting same-sex couples to marry was finally approved.
The motion was approved almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, after passing the upper chamber last week.
Politicians and members of the public, watching in the gallery, broke into cheers, tears and song following the vote.
In extraordinary scenes that would usually be considered unparliamentary, the parliament broke into I Am Australian, a popular song some argue should be the country’s national anthem.
“We are one, but we are many,” they belted out in unison.
“And from all the lands on earth we come.
“We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice.
“I am, you are, we are Australian.”
Onlookers in the packed public gallery hugged, cheered loudly and started applauding and waving their rainbow flags.
MPs were seen crying in the chamber, while others were lifted from their feet as the hugged colleagues.
Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, gave an emotional speech as he declared: “What a day for love, for quality, for respect. Australia has done it!”
“This is Australia, fair and diverse, loving and filled with respect.”
The move comes after almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot to endorse the law.
Australia is the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The final legislative victory follows years of activism and a three-month community campaign by the Equality Campaign.
13 years ago Australia changed the law to explicitly outlaw same-sex marriages.
The author of the cross-party bill, the Liberal senator Dean Smith, told ABC News the passage of marriage equality was “a measure of what can be done when people put some of their partisan politics behind”.
The Equality Campaign said: “This Bill ensures every LGBTI Australian will now be treated equally with the same dignity and respect as their fellow Australians and will be able to marry the person they love.
“To the many LGBTI Australians who have gone before us – thank you. The YES Campaign salutes you and we are eternally grateful for the path you paved, the path that enables us to be here today. Today is in your honour.
“To every young LGBTI Australian across the nation, today ensures there will never be a question about whether you can have the same dreams, aspirations and opportunities as your brothers, sisters and friends.
“For those who have waited months, years or decades to finally have the chance to marry, it’s now your time.
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“This has been a tough road for LGBTI Australians, their families and friends. However, achieving marriage equality today enables us to move forward stronger and more resilient, knowing that no Australian has to ever live through this experience again.
“We thank the millions of Australians who voted YES and we want to assure every Australian who didn’t that marriage equality will take from no-one and simply make our nation a kinder, fairer and more inclusive place to live.
“Today we celebrate that finally the law recognises what we always knew: our lives and relationships have the same value and worth. We are equal.
“We did this together, be proud.”