Australia legalises same-sex marriage

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott leaves the chamber ahead of the final vote on the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra Thursday

Australia legalises same-sex marriage

On Monday, the debate on the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 kicked off in the House of Representatives.

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

The Senate voted decisively in favour of the legislation last week. When the Attorney-General ratifies the law, same-sex marriage will finally be legal.

Liberal senator Dean Smith's bill will now become law after a day of cheers, tears and applause in the Lower House.

The public gallery led a chorus of We Are Australian after the final vote, with members of the parliament joining in from the floor of the House in tears.

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Not all speeches backed gay marriage, however.

"It's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect".

However, PM Malcolm Turnbull has said he will support at least two amendments to the bill to allow for religious freedoms. "The question though is we need to get the balances right in terms of the protections of those people who have fundamental beliefs based on religion or otherwise", he added.

Further debate on amendments delayed the vote until almost 6pm tonight. "Australia has done it", he said. Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot by last month.

Most gay marriage opponents accept that the Parliament has an overwhelming mandate to make the change.

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