If Australia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, Sydney Will Give LGBT Couples This Wedding Gift

The thoughtful measure only applies to "a group that has been so sidelined and discriminated against for so long."

Australia is currently in the midst of a postal vote that could finally make same-sex marriage legal in the land down under, and if the vote passes, the city of Sydney has said it will provide free marriages to same-sex couples at a handful of the popular destination's most notable spots.

The generous decision was announced on October 23 following the passage of a motion that would permit gay and lesbian couples to hire community facilities, halls, and parks for free for 100 days if same-sex marriage is, in fact, legalized next month.

The Sydney Morning Herald notes the offer doesn't apply to straight pairs, but says gay couples will still be responsible for ensuring audio visual services, catering, and security are all paid for. Some participating facilities include Paddington Town Hall and Sydney Town Hall, which may see a mass-style wedding if marriage equality is legalized.

However, the exclusion of straight couples from this motion created some friction from an unlikely source. As The SMH notes, Liberal councillor Christine Forster — who identifies as gay and has fought for marriage equality in Australia — voted against the motion after unsuccessfully lobbying for it to apply to straight couples as well. 

"This has been a fight for equality before the law and it's my belief that we can't ask for equality for ourselves and then deny it to others," Foster explained. "It's also been about making marriage inclusive not exclusive, and this motion flies in the face of that."

Still, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who confirmed the motion had passed during an interview with ABC Radio on October 24, has no problem with the measure on account of all Australia's LGBTQ community has endured thus far. "If the vote gets up and the legislation is passed, as a celebratory gesture there will be 100 days for a group that has been so sidelined and discriminated against for so long," she said via The Daily Telegraph

Australia's postal vote for same-sex marriage began on September 12 and will conclude on November 7, with a decision slated to be announced on November 15. However, CNN reports the vote is voluntary and non-binding. In other words, the Australian government is not legally obliged to do anything regardless of the outcome of the postal vote and would have to pass legislation to make same-sex marriage law if Australia votes in favor.

According to The Guardian, Australians overwhelmingly support marriage equality — among those who have already voted, 72 percent voted yes while just 26 percent voted no — but several conservative politicians have made it clear they will remain against same-sex unions no matter what the postal vote says.

Thankfully Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has stated he will introduce legislation if same-sex marriage is approved by the population, so it might just be time for LGBT couples to start booking those free wedding venues in Sydney!

Cover image via Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com.

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