Australia’s first out lesbian senator marries partner of 20 years

Penny Wong, Australia’s first out lesbian senator, has married her long-term partner Sophie Allouache after a nearly 20-year relationship. Their daughters — 11-year-old Alexandra 8-year-old Hannah — served as flower girls at the wedding.

The two married last Saturday at the Bird in Hand winery in the South Australian city of Adelaide. Wong represents South Australia in the nation’s senate. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his fiancee Jodie Haydon attended the ceremony along with other senior government ministers from Wong’s Labor political party, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“We are delighted that so many of our family and friends could share this special day with us,” Wong wrote as a caption for an Instagram photo showing herself and her newlywed bride.

The two women met in 2007 but didn’t publicly report their engagement. Allouache gave birth to their first child in December 2011 through in vitro fertilization [IVF]. Allouache gave birth to their second daughter in 2015.

In 2001, Wong became the first out woman elected to Australia’s senate. In 2007, she became the first out woman to be a cabinet member when she was appointed as the nation’s first-ever Minister for Climate Change. In 2008, she helped pass legislation that extended some equal civil rights to same-sex couples equal rights in taxation, healthcare, and retirement benefits, Pink News reported.

However, when asked in 2010 about Australia’s possible legalization of same-sex marriage, her Labor party didn’t support it, and so she echoed that view.

“On the issue of marriage, I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious, and historical view around that which we have to respect,” she said at the time. “The party’s position is very clear, and that is an institution between a man [and] a woman… I do respect the fact that’s how people view the institution.”

The Australian Parliament considered 22 unsuccessful bills introduced to legalize same-sex marriage from 2004 to 2017. However, in 2017, the government held a national plebiscite asking residents whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex marriage — over 61% answered “yes.”

Australia’s Senate and House of Representatives both approved a same-sex marriage legalization bill in 2017, and the country held its first legal same-sex marriages on December 15, 2017. After the bill’s passage, a photographer captured an image of Wong emotionally crying.

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Originally Published Here.

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