Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Australia Parliament Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Australia Parliament Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Australia after new laws cleared federal parliament.

The House of Representatives is widely expected to pass the legislation on Thursday, after the bill drew broad cross-party support.

Cheers and applause broke out as ministers voted in favor of the bill following hours of debate and emotional speeches at Parliament House in Canberra.

As the Senate has already passed the bill, all that needs to happen now for same-sex marriage to be well and truly legal is to have the Governor-General ratify the bill.

All proposed amendments to the bill were knocked back, meaning that marriage equality will become law without special provisions for bakers, florists and civil celebrants to refuse service to same sex marriages.

Among them was Christine Forster, the gay sister of Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister who has always been seen as the face of the "no" campaign.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has said any future legislation on religious freedoms would not be the subject of a Labor MP conscience vote, paving the way for a battle with the coalition if it goes down that path.

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The move follows a two-month national postal survey that showed 61% of more than 12 million respondents were in favor of marriage equality.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had then said that the "overwhelming" result meant that his government would aim to change the law in parliament before Christmas.

Marriage equality campaigners have fought for years for Thursday's vote.

Australia's parliament broke out in euphoric celebrations as Australia finally legalized same-sex marriage.

Both major parties had given their members a free vote on the issue.

Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot last month.

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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