Bermuda changes its mind

Senators in Bermuda voted today to restore a ban on gay marriage, overturning a right granted by its top court earlier this year.

They approved the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaces the right to marriage with the ability to form same-sex partnerships, by a vote of 8-3.

The British territory’s lower House of Assembly passed the same bill on Friday by a 24-10 margin.

It will now be sent to the governor for his signature, widely seen as a formality.


Gadzooks! It must be Christmas.

Austria’s Constitutional Court has decided that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry by the beginning of 2019, ruling that the existing laws, which have allowed civil partnerships since 2010, are discriminatory.

The move brings Austria into line with many other European nations including Germany, France, Britain and Spain.

The Constitutional Court said that civil partnerships will remain an option after the law is changed, and will then be open to straight couples.

In its ruling, the Court said “the distinction between marriage and civil partnership can no longer be maintained today without discriminating against same-sex couples,” adding that keeping the two institutions separate suggests that “people with same-sex sexual orientation are not equal to people with heterosexual orientation”.

The things that really matter, indeed

Tim Wilson proposing | Sky News/House of Representatives | 17168

Tim Wilson, a gay Australian MP, fought back tears as he popped the question to Ryan Bolger just moments after a bill paving the way for same-sex marriage was introduced in Australia’s House of Representatives. It was the first time an MP had proposed on the floor of the House.

He said: “In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands – that they are the answer to the questions we cannot ask. So there is only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”

Mr Bolger, who was sitting in the public gallery, quickly responded “yes” as the floor erupted in applause, and house speaker Rob Mitchell added: “That was a ‘yes’, a resounding ‘yes’. Congratulations, well done mate.”

Australian senators would like some wedding cake

Two weeks after Australians overwhelmingly endorsed same-sex marriage, the Australian Senate approved a bill to allow gay marriage by 43 votes to 12.

They also rejected amendments to legally protect people who refuse to provide professional services to same-sex couples on religious grounds, including lay ministers and civil celebrants, as well as vendors like caterers and florists.

The bill will go to the lower House of Representatives next week, where it is also expected to be approved.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aims to have the bill approved before Christmas.

It’s YES

The result of the Australian postal vote on gay marriage is now known, and it is a decisive yes.

Here is the official result.

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Of the eligible Australians who expressed a view on this question, the majority indicated that the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 7,817,247 (61.6%) responding Yes and 4,873,987 (38.4%) responding No. Nearly 8 out of 10 eligible Australians (79.5%) expressed their view.

Well done Australia!