Same-sex marriage now allowed in Australia, 1st wedding likely in February

"It is time for more marriages, more equality, more love". Three-quarters of Australians, or nearly 12 million people (74.5% of the country's eligible voters), gave a resounding "yes" to the survey, and it prompted the Australian government to begin debating the issue in Parliament.

"It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Channel Nine on Friday morning, in a string of media interviews.

After the bill passed the Senate last week, House proceedings kicked off with fireworks Monday when Liberal MP Tim Wilson surprised his colleagues by proposing to his longtime partner Ryan Bolger.

The Jensens first said they'd get divorced if same-sex couples could get married back in 2015.

Members of the LGBT community fought for the equality of marriage in Australia for decades.

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.

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Its passage was further delayed through numerous attempts by conservatives to add amendments for religious protections from the law, but they all failed and the Bill passed unamended. Queues of people lined up to watch the debate from the public gallery, with some dancing and cheering.

"A promise was made by the leaders of this parliament and this promise has not been adequately delivered on", Mr Abbott said.

"The Parliament has got on with it and we have voted today for a equality, for love, it is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who was voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all, this is Australia!".

The law will come into effect in the new year.

As opposed to a union between a man and a woman, the same-sex marriage bill recognises marriage as simply "a union between two people".

The Governor General has signed the law to legalise same-sex marriage this morning, completing the legal process and formally changing the Marriage Act.

  • Megan Austin