- Same-sex marriage will officially be legalised in Australia following a vote by both houses in Parliament
- Same-sex campaigners have gathered outside Parliament House to celebrate the marriage equality bill
- The bill looks set to be passed in both houses on Thursday as the final vote will be carried out
- Supporters of the law change clad in rainbow-coloured attire and holding signs showed strong emotion
Same-sex marriage will officially be legalised in Australia after both houses of Parliament voted in favour of the historic change.
The House of Representatives voted to pass same-sex marriage into law on Thursday afternoon after a months-long public debate.
More than 7.8 million Australians – about 62 per cent of voters – gave their support to the reform in a voluntary postal survey.
The bill, which passed the Senate in late November, will now go to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove for royal assent. It will become law in days.
The first weddings are expected to be held in early January, because couples are required to give 30 days advance notice for nuptials under existing laws.
‘What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!’ an impassioned Malcolm Turnbull said immediately following the announcement.
‘Today we’ve voted for love, for equality. It’s time for more marriages, more love, more respect. This belongs to us all. This is Australia.’
Same-sex marriage will officially be legalised in Australia after both houses of Parliament voted in favour of the historic change
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had promised to pass the reform into law by Christmas and called on lawmakers to heed the ‘overwhelming’ survey result.
The issue was put to a conscience vote for parliamentarians, meaning politicians could vote as individuals rather than follow the party line.
Some politicians had vowed to vote down the change despite the outcome of the survey, claiming they were representing the 38.4 per cent of Australians who voted No.
Same sex marriage including television star Magda Szubanski and Olympic champion Ian Thorpe spent the day at Parliament, rallying on the front lawn and keeping a close eye on proceedings.
The final bill was authored by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith.
Supporters of the law change clad in rainbow-coloured attire and holding signs came together outside parliament to celebrate on what is an emotional day for many
Pictured outside Parliament celebrating were television star and prominent same-sex marriage campaigner Magda Szubanski
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster was also in Canberra for the occasion.
Mr Abbott has said he is looking forward to his sister’s impending nuptials, which are expected to be held in February.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster was also in attendance outside Parliament to celebrate
Ambassadors and volunteers from the Equality Campaign are pictured gathered in front of Parliament House
Same-sex marriage campaigners Alex Greenwich and Magda Szubanski dance as they call on the gay marriage bill to be passed
Earlier this week, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger shortly after the bill was introduced to the lower house.
Queensland crossbench MP Bob Katter also delivered a bizarre speech on the issue, making accusations that gay people were ‘murderers’ and responsible for AIDS.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also confirmed he had separated from his wife Natalie during the debate.