Same-sex marriage is now officially legal in Australia following an exhausting 56-hour debate in the House of Representatives last Thursday.
Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan praised the commitment of young people in her speech supporting marriage equality, which she delivered during that debate.
In the speech, which addressed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, Ms McGowan praised young people in Indi for getting organised and lobbying for marriage reform.
‘‘I hope that you take great courage in what you have done and you apply that energy and enthusiasm equally to climate change, to our environment and to making sure that this country becomes and reaches its potential to be fair and equitable to everybody,’’ Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan acknowledged the many conversations that took place across the electorate during and after the marriage equality postal survey.
‘‘This discussion has been important for me in listening and understanding,’’ Ms McGowan said.
‘‘I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go to churches and elder groups in my community to listen to their ideas.
‘‘I will work with everyone in our community to create love, understanding and tolerance.
‘‘I’m looking forward to... when all the LGBTIQ community know that they are accepted and welcomed into our community not as ‘they’, not as ‘other’, but as ‘us’.’’
The electorate of Indi voted yes by a wide margin with 63.1 per cent of voters ticking the yes box.
While the whole process was seen as a huge waste of money by many, the result has empowered the LGBTIQ community across Victoria’s north-east.
Only four MPs voted against the bill, which became official after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed it into law following the debate.
Same-sex weddings can now take place as of January 9 and couples who married overseas will be officially recognised by Australian law.