For many, Australia’s resounding ‘yes’ to marriage equality was not just about giving all Australians the same rights to marry the person they love, but also a signal that their relationships were finally being recognised and accepted for what they are. Committed, loving, and worthy of legal recognition.
Perhaps that’s why Labor Senator Penny Wong broke down in tears after it was announced 61.6 per cent of Australians returned a yes vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey, sending a clear signal to politicians they expect marriage equality by the end of 2017.
When asked how she felt, she said, “I’m relieved. Thank you, Australia.”
Because finally, her love story was being recognised.
Penny came out as a lesbian shortly after she assumed her seat in parliament in 2002 becoming the first openly gay member of Parliament. She and her partner Sophie Allouache live in Adelaide with their two children when Penny is not in Canberra for work.
The pair announced in August 2011 that Sophie was expecting their first child. Alexandra was born in December that year. Then in April 2015, the couple welcomed their second daughter, Hannah.
As Penny told Mamamia in an interview in 2016, that despite what many with homophobic tendencies might think, their life and family could best be described as "normal".
"I feel like saying, Do you have any idea how boringly normal the rest of our life is? We have a station wagon and a mortgage and we live in the suburbs," she said.
Listen: Australia voted yes, so what next? (Post continues.)
"Our kids go to childcare and kindy around the corner... We forget the shopping list, we try to run around just like you do to the supermarket… Our lives are not that different. What is the problem?"
The real problem is that for too long Penny and her Sophie have not been able to legally recognise their relationship in a way that so many other straight couples in their position were able to, with a wedding and a marriage.
Let's hope that's about to change very, very soon.