Powerful photos show Australians celebrating the moment same-sex marriage finally passed

Powerful photos show Australians celebrating the moment same-sex marriage finally passed
Alice Bennett and her partner Miranda Hill kiss on Dec. 7 as it’s announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Alice Bennett and her partner Miranda Hill kiss on Dec. 7 as it’s announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

On Thursday, Australia voted to become the 25th country with marriage equality when the Australian House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The legislation passed with a clear majority and only four votes against it, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Members of parliament, from left, Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt and Andrew Wilkie celebrate passing the same-sex marriage bill in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday.
Members of parliament, from left, Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt and Andrew Wilkie celebrate passing the same-sex marriage bill in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday. Mick Tsikas/AP

The Australian Senate had approved it the week before, by a vote of 43 to 12. Supporters of same-sex marriage in Australia gathered to watch the final approval of the bill on Thursday, some breaking into cheers and celebrations the moment the measure passed.

Labor MP Linda Burney celebrates as the Australian Parliament passes the same-sex marriage bill in Canberra on Thursday.
Labor MP Linda Burney celebrates as the Australian Parliament passes the same-sex marriage bill in Canberra on Thursday. Sean Davey/Getty Images

According to the Times, observers watching the vote from the public gallery broke out into the song “I am Australian,” and some lawmakers got teary-eyed as they looked up at the gallery.

A supporter celebrates after the passing of the gay marriage bill on Thursday, in Sydney, Australia.
A supporter celebrates after the passing of the gay marriage bill on Thursday, in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

The legislation followed a national postal survey over the question of whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. The results of the survey were clear — 61.6% of the more than 12 million respondents voted “yes” and only 38.4% voted “no.”

Rebecca Hanson celebrates with a crowd of people on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia.
Rebecca Hanson celebrates with a crowd of people on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said on Thursday that, “This belongs to us all. ... This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day,” the Times reported.

People celebrate Thursday in Sydney after the passing of the gay marriage bill.
People celebrate Thursday in Sydney after the passing of the gay marriage bill. Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

The passing of same-sex marriage is the result of a long national fight. As the Times reported, since 2004, there have been 22 unsuccessful efforts in Parliament to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

Supporters celebrate on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia.
Supporters celebrate on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The new law will change the definition of marriage in Australia from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people,” the Times reported, and it will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married overseas.

Same-sex marriage campaigners and volunteers cheer during a rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday.
Same-sex marriage campaigners and volunteers cheer during a rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Thursday. Lukas Coch/AP

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global, cheered on the vote, saying, “We welcome Australia into the growing family of freedom-loving nations that ensure marriage equality for all couples. ... The overwhelming support for marriage equality down under is a testament to the hard work of Australia’s LGBTQ advocates and allies who fought tirelessly to make today a reality. We congratulate them on this incredibly important victory.”

Tracy Clark and her partner Justyna Greinart kiss as they celebrate on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia.
Tracy Clark and her partner Justyna Greinart kiss as they celebrate on Thursday in Melbourne’s Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Same-sex marriage will officially be legal as soon as the bill receives royal assent from the governor general later in December, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

Supporters celebrate on Thursday in Sydney after the passing of the gay marriage bill.
Supporters celebrate on Thursday in Sydney after the passing of the gay marriage bill. Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, an out gay politician who authored the bill, said on Thursday that the victory was “owned by everyone, it is owned by the Australian people,” the Guardian reported.