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Same-sex marriage campaigners and volunteers cheer as they call on politicians to pass marriage equality legislation during rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP
Citizenship

Australia Just Legalized Gay Marriage and People Can't Stop Celebrating

“I am, you are, we are Australian.” 

These were the lines sung by spectators gathered in the Australian House of Representatives moments after gay marriage was officially made legal. 

On Thursday, Australia became the 25th country to legalize gay marriage — following in the footsteps of Finland, Malta, and Germany, which have all done the same in 2017. 

“This belongs to us all,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. “This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day.”

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A week after the bill passed the senate, and less than a month after more than 60% of Australians voted for gay marriage in a non-binding postal vote, just four members of the House of Representatives voted against the bill and 12 abstained, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. 

Australia had previously attempted 22 times to legalize gay marriage since 2004, but last night had a different feel to it. 

On social media, people from around the world chimed in to celebrate the vote: 

Australia’s estimated 46,800 same-sex couples will have to wait until the new year to wed, on account of a 28-day notice period for all marriages, according to the Guardian. 

Lauding the accomplishment, Tiernan Brady, leader of the Marriage Equality campaign, also spoke of the global challenges ahead. 

“Australia and New Zealand are the only two nations east of Jerusalem that have marriage equality,” he said. “That means there are around 4 billion people without these rights that Australians will now enjoy, so there’s a lot more work to do.”

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