World News

Australian Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Australian Parliament Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Australia became the 26th country to legalize same-sex marriages.

Most gay rights advocates believed the government should have allowed marriages years ago and saw various ideas for a public survey as a delaying tactic.

Australia's House of Representatives overnight passed its same-sex marriage bill in a massive landslide vote, with just four Members of Parliament out of 150 voting no.

In moving scenes, the entire parliament burst into song after the bill passed, belting out the lyrics to the "I Am Australian" song: "We are one, but we are many; And from all the lands on earth we come; We'll share a dream and sing with one voice; "I am, you are, we are Australian".

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. After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

However, a Labor spokesman told AAP this ignored the fact that at every opportunity in the parliament, bar one, to support same-sex marriage laws Mr Turnbull had voted "no".




"This is Australia - fair, diverse and filled with respect".

Couples will shortly be able to register for marriage, but will have to wait 28 days before being able to marry.

"We've voted today for equality, for love, it's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

"The last thing we should want to do is to subject Australians to new forms of discrimination in place of old ones that are rightly gone", he said.

One of the rejected amendments would have ensured Australians could speak freely about their traditional views of marriage without fear of legal action.

Smith told ABC News (Australia) that the historic change was "owned by everyone, it is owned by the Australian people".


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