Australian parliament approves same-sex marriage

Australia could have same-sex marriage before the end of the day

Australia could have same-sex marriage before the end of the day

The Australian Parliament on Thursday voted to allow same-sex marriage across the nation.

Debate on proposed amendments dragged on in the House of Representatives throughout the day, but in the end it was passed without any changes.

"What a day for equality, for love and respect", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after the decision was delivered.

The final step is for the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, the Queen's representative in Australia, to ratify the law, which will likely take place within days.

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MPs have voted in favour of making same-sex marriage legal. Though the bill was expected to pass into law without significant opposition, the lengthy legislative process was excruciatingly slow for the hundreds of advocates watching from the public gallery.

"There's only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?"

Proposed amendments by Coalition MPs including former prime minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Scott Morrison were voted down.

The government has appointed a panel to examine how to safeguard religious freedoms once gay marriage was a reality in Australia.

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"That is why I will support several amendments to the bill which will provide that additional reassurance in respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms", he added. Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot by last month.

While marriage equality could become law this week, state marriage registries say they would not have the paperwork to proceed with weddings until January. Liberal Party member Sarah Henderson teared up as she spoke about her friend gay friend John Parker, who died months earlier and was waiting for the Marriage Act to change.

Same-sex marriage supporters wearing colourful "Yes" T-shirts clapped and cheered as amendments were voted down, prompting repeated warnings they should stop their barracking.

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