The Yes Vote: What Happens Next?

Photo: Unsplash

Photo: Unsplash

Australia has spoken (a whopping 79.5% of us), and we have said YAAAAS to marriage equality. But bearing in mind that the way we got here was pretty messed up, ie. a public vote on human rights (our THD refresher is here) what happens next? A one-minute explainer by Mia Abrahams.

Now that we've voted in favour of same-sex marriage, what needs to happen for marriage equality to become legal?
The historic #yes vote doesn't change the law automatically. To actually legalise gay marriage, a bill needs to pass to that effect. Luckily, that process is already underway: A bill prepared by Liberal Senator Dean Smith has support from Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch. It should be voted on by the end of the year. 

A competing bill from another conservative Liberal senator, James Paterson, took a different approach, aka entrenching discrimination by allowing business to refuse services to same-sex marriage in the name of protecting religious freedom (so, a florist could refuse to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding on the grounds of their religious beliefs). This bill has since been dropped after low support (phew), and Paterson will now attempt to negotiate amendments to Smith’s bill.

There are still Liberal MPs who supported the No campaign who do support Paterson’s bill — Kevin Andrews, for example, said that bakers should be given the right to refuse to service same-sex weddings. The bakers, on the other hand, are like — pls leave us out of this nonsense.

When will it become law?
The Federal Gov has cancelled a sitting week for the House of Reps (Lower House) to allow the Senate to finish debating the same-sex marriage bill, before it goes to the Lower House. Christopher Pyne said that the gov made the decision so that the SSM bill could bedealt with before Christmas. However, others in the government aren't so happy about the rescheduling, as it has put a number of other issues ready for debate (that might not have gone Turnbull's way) on hold.

So, after the $122 million non-legally binding survey, will we see marriage equality become law before Christmas? We sure hope so.