The Australian Senate has passed Dean Smith’s marriage bill, with 43 senators voting for the proposed legislation, and 12 voting against it.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives where it will be debated next week.

If passed without amendment, it will then go on to the Governor-General for Royal Assent, where it will be made law, and marriage equality will in turn become a reality.

Senators voting for the bill gave impassioned speeches in parliament, marking the historic debate as a turning point for the LGBTI community.

Janet Rice, who delivered her speech draped in a rainbow scarf, highlighted the activists that had fought long and hard for this outcome, including former Greens leader Bob Brown.

“[Bob] fought so hard, and raised the issue of equality and ending discrimination against LGBTI people for so long,” she said.

She added that she was particularly proud to represent the trans community on the historic occasion.

“Trans and gender diverse people have suffered incredible vilification and hatred, in fact, the attacks on them have continued in this chamber up until this morning,” she said.

“Trans people deserve to be loved as well, trans people are equal, they are part of our wonderful family.”

Senator Dean Smith introduced his marriage equality bill earlier this month, which had already been subject to a cross party Senate committee, and was built upon the findings of a Senate inquiry.

When delivering his speech earlier today, he reinforced the strength of the bill.

All proposed amendments to the bill by conservative senators had been voted down, something Smith said validated his bill.

“The debate confirmed the evolutionary nature of this bill,” he said.

“The lack of substantive amendments indicates we got the balance correct.”

Seventeen senators abstained from voting.

 

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