Timeline of gay marriage and rights in Australia

Timeline of gay marriage and rights in Australia

Equality ambassadors and volunteers from the Equality Campaign celebrate as they gather in front of Parliament House in Canberra on Dec 7, 2017, ahead of the parliamentary vote on Same Sex Marriage. (Photo: AFP/Sean Davey)

SYDNEY: Australia's parliament passed a law legalising same-sex marriage Thursday.

It followed a historic nationwide survey that saw Australians vote overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality.

Here is a timeline of key moments in marriage rights in Australia:

  • 1961: Australia introduces its first Marriage Act, but it does not include a formal definition of marriage
  • 1975: South Australia becomes the first state to decriminalise male homosexuality
  • 1976-1997: Other states and territories decriminalise male homosexuality
  • 2004: The Marriage Act is amended to add the definition that "marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others"
  • 2009: De facto couples are given similar rights to those who are married
  • 2013: Federal Labor government makes it unlawful to discriminate against LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer) people
  • 2015: Conservative coalition government commits to a national plebiscite proposal on same-sex marriage
  • November 2016: Upper house Senate rebuffs the government's plans for a national plebiscite on gay unions
  • August 2017: Senate knocks backs national plebiscite proposal again, government pushes ahead with a national voluntary postal vote
  • September 2017: Ballot papers for the postal vote are sent out
  • November 15, 2017: Some 61.6 percent of eligible Australians vote in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry
  • November 29, 2017: The upper house Senate votes in favour of legalising gay marriage
  • December 7, 2017: The lower House of Representatives votes overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage
  • December 9, 2017: The marriage reforms will take effect with same-sex couples able to lodge a notice to marry, and the right to marry in Australia no longer determined by sex or gender
Source: AFP/zl