IT’S a big “yes” from Perth—with 71 per cent of voters in the federal Perth electorate in favour of marriage equality.
The highest “yes” vote in the country was Melbourne and Sydney, both with 84 per cent, while some parts of New South Wales were as low as 26 per cent.
The next hurdle is getting the legislation through parliament.
WA senator Dean Smith has drafted a private members bill that was due to be introduced on Wednesday evening (November 15).
It includes protections for religious beliefs so priests won’t be forced to marry same-sex couples, but some conservative MPs are concocting their own version, with “increased protection” for people who don’t want to cater to gay weddings, like florists or cakemakers.
While they’ve been rebuffed by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who’s backing the bill from Mr Smith, Notre Dame senior politics lecturer Martin Drum says the politicking won’t end there.
Dr Drum says conservatives are likely to introduce a long list of amendments for debate, which could see the legislation held up for the two weeks before parliament shuts down for the end of the year.
He says they may also try to get amendments included that would make it impossible for Labor to support the bill, giving them the opportunity to paint the opposition as wreckers.
Equal Love WA is now holding a “Make Yes Law!” post-results rally on November 18 at Forrest Chase in the CBD, urging federal parliament to get on with it and legislate before Christmas.
Hundreds of people congregated at Northbridge Piazza early Wednesday morning to hear the result.
Perth’s state Labor MP John Carey said, “I was at the Piazza surrounded by all these couples who are deeply in love. I was so happy for them, it was brilliant to see all these people so happy and over the moon…there’s an incredible sense of relief.”
by DAVID BELL and STEVE GRANT