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“People around the world face violence and inequality—and sometimes torture, even execution—because of who they love, how they look, or who they are.” [1] LGBTQ+ is a controversial topic in today’s society and has been on the political agenda in Australia for several reasons, with enormous pressure from the public and widespread coverage in the media.

Studies from the International Lesbian and Gay Association in may 2014 express that almost 2.8 billion individuals are living in nations where identifying as gay could prompt imprisonment, corporal punishment, or even death. On the contrary, only 780 million people are living in nations where same-sex marriage or civil unions are legal rights. It is obvious there is still a lot to be some in order to accomplish worldwide equality for LGBTQ communities.

Essentially, the three of important functions of laws being implemented in society are social control, dispute resolution, and social change. Laws are made to authorize harmony and equality among us citizens.

With mounting pressure from the public for recognition and equality for same-sex marriage along with a vast amount of coverage on social media, on the 9th of December 2017, the right to marry in Australia was not controlled by sex or gender. As per The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms), Act 2017 same-sex marriage is defined as follows; “marriage between two persons of marriageable age, regardless of their gender”.

After this marriage act was implemented, other rules to get married did not change however, all marriage forms were modified and updated to be suitable for all marrying couples. Married couples were to be treated as equivalent to other married couples in Australia regardless of whether the marriage took place abroad or before the 9th of December.

In 2008 and 2009, at a federal level, there was a wide-going set-up of changes to give equal qualifications and obligations to same-sex couples in specific areas, such as social security, employment, taxation, and superannuation. Although these areas were updated to better suit the needs of same-sex relationships, a particular area of difference was the institution of marriage. Thus it was decided, that in order to achieve true equality same-sex couples must have the privilege to marry.

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In order for, a decision to be made as to whether same-sex marriage should be legalized, a plebiscite was established in Australia where all adults on the electoral roll were invited to vote via mail (post). The question reading, ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’ was implemented. “When the vote was declared on the floor of the House, the packed public gallery exploded into cheers and applause, while MPs crossed the chamber to embrace each other, wave rainbow flags and in some cases cry.” [2]

This bill was forwarded to Australians to allow equity in marriage allowing individuals to marry the ones they love without restriction from the law. Same-sex marriage was not a popular topic when the first marriage act was passed given Australia’s conservative nature, however through the growing Australian community and mounting pressure from the public, it is now a commodity, therefore, providing equity and equality to communities.

Furthermore, 61 percent of Australians voted Yes to legalize same-sex marriage But the real question is does the LGBTQ+ community feel equal yet to their hetero peers? The key stakeholders are of course the LGBTQ+ community and the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL)

It is said that prior to same-sex marriage, studies and research show that members of the LGBTQ+ community faced high levels of psychological distress rooted in social isolation and difficulty in obtaining a legally recognized relationship. In contrast, this leads us to believe that same-sex marriage may bestow health benefits. This statement was proven to be correct as those who were part of the LGBTQ+ community reported significantly less depression and anxiety, and better psychological well-being.

From a religious perspective, the Australian Christain Lobby, or ACL we’re deeply enraged by the outcome. They are most broadly known for their work opposing same-sex marriage and claim that same-sex marriage would “inevitably” result in children “who are deprived of the right to be known by and raised by their parents” without identifying how the proposed marriage law affects children of same-sex couples, many of who were already parents. [3] The amount of resentment which came due to same-sex marriage being legalized resulted in a member of the board of the Australian Christian Lobby being forced to resign from ACL as his principal employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, supported same-sex marriage.

Through lobbying and the fight for equality from the Australian community, a political platform for the LGBTQ+ community has been recognized and allows them to feel comfortable in their own skin and legally through the Marriage Amendment Act 2017. It was elucidated that the type of nation we are welcoming those to love who they love. Social media has had a major impact on the journey to equity spreading the positives of same-sex marriage to not only the LGBTQ+ community but the economy as seen through recent statistics.

The law reform has proven to be an effective one as we have seen solid results with the LGBTQ+ community and the Australian community. Because of the amendment, we have now enabled positive change for our future generation. Building a healthy and supportive environment to prosper and establish an even stronger community.

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