Australia legalizes same-sex marriage

Australia legalizes same-sex marriage

That was the hope of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after 62% of Australians voted in favor of same-sex marriage in a legally non-binding postal survey conducted over two months earlier this year.

The Bill passed the senate last week, before moving to the lower house on Monday.

Australia's Parliament has voted to approve same-sex marriage following a protracted and often bitter debate that was finally settled in a nationwide referendum last month that overwhelmingly backed the move.

It was opposed by proponents of same-sex marriage, who wanted direct legislative action and argued a poll would expose gay people and their families to hate speech.

"Love has won, and it's time to pop the bubbly", Greens MP and same-sex marriage supporter Adam Bandt said. Thirty-one couples, including Dublin man Stephen Dawson and his partner Dennis Liddelow, got married in the five days before the federal government overturned and annulled all the gay marriages carried out in that time.

But religious organizations and conservative lawmakers had voiced strong opposition and proposed dozens of amendments. The 500 or so people in the gallery were vocal in their disapproval of the amendments.

Same-sex marriage campaigners and volunteers cheer as they call on politicians to pass marriage equality legislation during rally outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

Several parliamentarians who supported the changes wore rainbow-coloured socks or ties, including Warren Entsch, described in local media as a "fiercely heterosexual... crocodile-farming, bull-catching Liberal". "They are not a sword to be wielded in the service of bigotry", government MP Andrew Hastie said in parliament.

The House of Representatives along with the Senate voted in favour of the law that will change the existing definition of marriage in Australia.

Almost eight out of 10 eligible voters participated in the survey, according to the government. Because a month's notice is required for the state to recognize a marriage, the first legal same-sex unions will be in January.

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