Australia Same-Sex Marriage

Australia, where homosexuality is a popular practice, is very near to legalizing same-sex unions. The federal government has launched a nationwide campaign inviting its constituents to express their views via postal mail beginning on September 12, 2017 about the legalization of same-sex marriage (Westcott, 2017). The poll's findings won't be made public until November 15, 2017, however prior polling data on this subject has indicated that the majority of people are in favor of making same-sex marriage legal. Four in every five Australian support homosexuality in general, which is the highest numbers in homosexual support around the world. The country recognized the rights of gay and lesbian in 1997 and now it is considering legalization of the official union of same-sex couples. According to the interpretation of section five of Australian Marriage Act 1961 “"marriage " means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life (MARRIAGE ACT 1961 - SECT 5 Interpretation, 2016)”. This act clearly rejects any possibilities of homosexual couple marriage being accepted by the legal system. Therefore, the legalization of same-sex marriage will clearly call for a change in the marriage act. The section 88EA of the act states the country’s position about not recognizing same-sex marriage between couples that took place in foreign countries where such marriages are legal. The politics has not been favorable for the policy change in the past years. No government took the initiative to pass the same-sex marriage act. The selection of Tony Abbott, outspoken conservative and former trainee priest, was likely to extinguish the flame of all hopes of passing same-sex marriage policy during his tenure. But due to strong positions of some of the ministers of his cabinet, Abbott declared the nationwide voting regarding the policy change in 2015, which is now running since September 12 this year (Westcott, 2017). This attempt can be seen as the outcome of the proposed Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 that was proposed on September 13, 2013 by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government. However, unlike Australian federal elections, the result of the vote is non-binding, which means the government is not obliged to pass the same-sex marriage act despite the majority wins in favor of it. Therefore, both sides of the coin, who supports and denies the legalization of the same-sex marriage.

Prospective Changes in Current Marriage Policy

The controversial same-sex marriage policy will substantially change the ‘…. exclusion of all others’ clause in the marriage act. It will legalize marriage between two persons be they are both men or women. Further, it will legalize divorce between couples who marry abroad. Currently, it is legally impossible for couples to divorce each other who marry in foreign countries and live in Australia (Sainty, 2017). Currently, same-sex couples can enjoy having a de facto relationship but not marriage. The de facto relationship allows homosexual people live together like any other relationship but not allow them enjoy rights that a married couple can enjoy. With the proposed same-sex marriage policy, they will be able to enjoy all rights and benefits that a heterosexual couple can enjoy (Cooper & Wedgwood, 2015). Some of these rights and benefits include property settlement, access to family law and entitlements to spousal maintenance. The same-sex marriage policy will enable the couple adopt children and become legal guardian to adopted children.

Arguments for and against Same-sex Marriage Policy in Australia

There are both arguments and counter-arguments regarding the legalization of the policy in Australia since the matter is proposed. A large protestant group that does not support same-sex marriage comes from Australian aboriginal group (Morgan, 2015). The elderly members of the group delivered a bark petition against the gay marriage to the federal government claiming that only heterosexual parents can found a perfect marriage and create a family bonding. On the other hand, the opposition argues that it is not wise to limit the love or bonding to specific gender union; any human being, in any relationship setup can create a family and retain the strength and societal culture.

A large number of protestants believe that marriage is a sacred institution that, by definition, is constituent of heterosexual partners; breaking the rule down to homosexuality will demolish the family life that is the aftermath of the marriage. The ability of heterosexual couples to make their own children is one of the reasons why such marriages are so enduring and lasted since the earliest history of the mankind. The opposition simply point out the fact that many de facto relationships between homosexual couples have lasted for years, which are likely to endure more if they were given security and social support through legalization of same-sex marriage (Donnelly, 2015).

The advocates of same-sex marriage often claim that not legalizing same-sex marriage is a form of discrimination to homosexual couple, which they do not deserve because everyone has the freedom to choose his or her partner. The protestants, on the other hand, accept the fact that the absence of official recognition to same-sex marriage is a discrimination but a necessary one for the society and legal system. They exemplify the discrimination to children under 18 years who are not allowed to access different matters or enjoy certain rights like their adult counterparts do; however, such discrimination is widely accepted and appreciated across the world because of obvious benefits for the generation and society (Donnelly, 2015).

The claim that the legalization of same-sex marriage is a threat to religious freedom has no valid justification. Even if the marriage between same-sex couple becomes legalized, the discrimination between homosexual and heterosexual couples will be protected on the ground of religion. The protestants argue that the marriage is not about religion rather it is a secular contract that is administered by the government. Like income taxes and other government legislations, marriage should be open to all. They say that atheists also marry and government has no restriction on their marriage because churches do not interfere with atheist marriage. No matter what the government legislate, some churches will never allow interracial marriage or marriage between divorced couples. Therefore, it is ridiculous not to legalize same-sex marriage on the ground of religion, which has nothing to do with religion because gay couples are already living together; they only need social status through the legalization of marriage.

Leaving same-sex marriage unregistered will not solve the problem rather intensify it. Many opponents to same-sex marriage believe that not legalizing gay marriage will keep young generation from being involved with homosexuality. But this belief is minimally true. According to popular beliefs in medical science, people develop homosexuality genetically or naturally (LeVay, 2016). Only a few percentage of the total homosexual individual get it from their society or environment. Evidently, not allowing marriage legally between same-sex couple will not prevent it rather will make it worse as they will feel down and unprivileged in their society and may cause harm to others out of desperation and frustration. On the other hand, by officially recognizing gay marriage, the society may save unwanted interest and curiosity of young people from it.

In debate to opponents claim that same-sex marriage is harmful for human race procreation as homosexual couple cannot give birth to children, protestants presents the example of legalization of marriage between two elderly people who have past their reproductive phase as well as marriage between couples who do not intend to take children. They further argue that the family is about taking and upbringing children but marriage has nothing to do with children. Not legalizing marriage on the ground of not having children is not a fair verdict. Marriage takes between two persons who wish to live together not for reproduction but to love each other.

The protestants believe that the large amount of social rejection and bullying can be mitigated by providing social acceptance to same-sex marriage and thereby many social problems revolving around homosexual people and their family can be resolved. Currently, social bully is a major cause of suicide among homosexual individuals, which can be reduced by providing support and social acceptance to them and their marriage.

Personal Assessment on Legalizing Same-sex Marriage

My personal opinion goes in favor of homosexual people. Homosexuality is not a social problem as it thought to be rather not accepting homosexual people might be a source of problem. From political point of view, homosexual people are part of our society; they are legal citizens of the country and participate in the development of the country through their performance and activities. It is their fundamental right to have equal access to marriage institute that is accepted by law and legal system. Several developed countries have already accepted same-sex marriage legally. Australia has been a pioneer in the field with the highest number of public opinions in favor of same-sex marriage. On the count of public opinions alone, the government can legalize the same-sex marriage and revise the existing marriage policy to allow homosexual people enjoy their right to live together legally.

The social taboo of having children or being heterosexual should not restrict homosexual people retain their personal freedom of choice or favor their natural preference in terms of sex-partners. In the past, homosexuality was not widely accepted and people used to hide their preferences to same-sex because of social structure. In the modern world of personal freedom and globalization, homosexuality is an open secret and people started accepting it globally. With an official recognition from the government, homosexual people will be able to lead a normal life and participate in the society like common people. It will not promote homosexuality rather official arrangement of their relationship, which will contribute in bringing peace and order to the society.

Furthermore, legalization of same-sex marriage will mitigate one potential discrimination problem from the society, which is currently being held on homosexual people. The public support in favor of homosexual people is building and sooner or later, federal government will be force to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia. Therefore, it will be best to legalize the matter sooner, after the postal mail voting is done if possible. The country will be found habitable by foreign immigrants who are homosexual, if they find their marriage and divorce are legalized in Australia.


In light of the above discussion, it is safe to say that same-sex marriage will be legalized in Australia soon but its impact on marriage act and social setup will bring substantial upheaval in society and politics. The society and political sphere will soon accept the demand of the matter and the abnormality associated with the factor will soon be mitigated. Change to the existing marriage act that only include heterosexual marriage as the only legally acceptable marriage in Australia is a timely demand. Through the legalization of the same-sex marriage, the change will take place. The policy will be modified to suit current demand and eliminate all hindrance that the current marriage act imposes on homosexual couples. Majority of the people are in support to homosexual people and certainly their support will remain in favor of the government who will pass the act. Therefore, political pressure will also play a major role in legalizing the bill. The people of Australia will appreciate the government who will take the responsibility to pass the bill. Finally, common people who are in opposition to the legalization process, will soon discover that legalization of marriage is not promoting homosexuality rather it is accepting natural anomaly and ensuring human rights.


Cooper, S., & Wedgwood, S. (2015, June 04). Same sex marriage – de facto v matrimonial – what is all the fuss about? Retrieved from Barry Nilsson :

Donnelly, K. (2015, August 12). Abbott made the right call on same-sex marriage . Retrieved from abc:

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LeVay, S. (2016). Gay, Straight, and the Reason why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. Oxford University Press.

MARRIAGE ACT 1961 - SECT 5 Interpretation. (2016, June 12). Retrieved from Commonwealth Consolidated Acts:

Morgan, M. (2015, August 17). Aboriginal LGBTQIs voice their views on Aboriginal petition against same-sex marriage. Retrieved from sbs:

Sainty, L. (2017, May 23). Australian Same-Sex Couples Who Marry Abroad Are Finding It Impossible To Divorce. Retrieved from BuzzFeed :

Westcott, B. (2017, September 11). Australia votes on same-sex marriage: What you need to know. Retrieved from CNN:

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