Gay and marriage rights in Australia: A timeline

Supporters of the 'Yes' vote for marriage equality celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey, at a rally in central Sydney, Australia.
Supporters of the 'Yes' vote for marriage equality celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey, at a rally in central Sydney, Australia. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australians have voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, in a historic nationwide survey that will now go to parliament to give it the force of law.

Nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters took part in the two-month postal survey, with 61.6 per cent of respondents saying "yes" to gay unions, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Here is a timeline of key moments in marriage rights in Australia.

1961: Australia introduces its first Marriage Act, but it does not include a formal definition of marriage .

1975: South Australia becomes the first state to decriminalise male homosexuality .

1976-1997: Other states and territories decriminalise male homosexuality .

2004: The Marriage Act is amended to add the definition that "marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others" 2009: De facto couples are given similar rights to those who are married .

2013: Federal Labor government makes it unlawful to discriminate against LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer) people .

 

2015: Conservative coalition government commits to a national plebiscite proposal on same-sex marriage .

November, 2016: Upper house Senate rebuffs the government's plans for a national plebiscite on gay unions .

August, 2017: Senate knocks backs national plebiscite proposal again, government pushes ahead with a national voluntary postal vote .

September, 2017: Ballot papers for the postal vote are sent out .

November 15, 2017: Some 61.6 per cent of eligible Australians vote in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry g