Bill passes through House of Representatives
Australia has officially become the 26th country to legalise same-sex marriage after the law was passed on Thursday with the overwhelming backing of the Federal Parliament.
There were jubilant scenes in the public galleries and chamber where crowds and politicians rose to their feet, clapped and cheered. Many sang ‘I am, you are, we are Australian’ and waved rainbow flags.
Governor-General Peter Cosgrove could ratify the law in a matter of days which would ultimately make same-sex marriage legal in Australia before Christmas, as promised earlier by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The laws will then come into effect on a date set by the government or within 28 days.
The Senate had already passed the bill without amendments with the House of Representatives following suit this afternoon.
Thirteen years after changing the Marriage Act to explicitly forbid same-sex unions, federal politicians voted to undo the last major piece of discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians.
Final amendment voted down: jubilant scenes in public galleries
The final amendment has been voted down. Ayes: 63. Noes: 79. The public galleries have erupted.
Tony Smith reminded the crowd there is still the third reading to go.
The vote on legislation is now imminent and expected to take place within 30 minutes.
“What a day, what a day for love, for equality for respect,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
“It is time for more marriages, more equality, more love.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said: “When this bill is passed we should declare we are no longer a nation who voted no or yes, we are simply Australians all. Equality is never a gift to be given.”
Check out some videos below:
Here's the moment Australian parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage and started singing "We Are Australian". pic.twitter.com/DexvOUC9WQ
— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) December 7, 2017
Today will go down in history. Marriage equality is finally the law of the land in Australia!
— Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) December 7, 2017
— Political Alert (@political_alert) December 7, 2017