Australia House of Representatives approves same-sex marriage bill

Australia House of Representatives approves same-sex marriage bill

Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling.

If the lower house votes to amend the bill, it will need to be returned to the Senate.

The bill passed the Senate last week with 43 votes to 12, with Labor Senator Penny Wong reaching to hug Liberal Senator Dean Smith afterwards.

The Australian House of Representatives has approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

"Love has won, and it's time to pop the bubbly", Greens MP and same-sex marriage supporter Adam Bandt said.

Warren Entsch, a long-term advocate of marriage equality within the conservative government, helped draft the bill and was the first to speak for it in the House on Monday.

Same-sex marriage campaigner Alex Greenwich and Magda Szubanski dance outside Parliament House.

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.

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"They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love".

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.

Prime Minister Turnbull campaigned in 2015 on the promise of having a revisitation of Australia's marriage laws.

"We thank the millions of Australians who voted YES and we want to assure every Australian who didn't that marriage equality will take from no-one and simply make our nation a kinder, fairer and more inclusive place to live".

Tony Abbot proposed changes to broaden religious protections "out of respect" for people who "take religious freedom seriously".

Australia is the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality for same-sex couples.

"In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands, and they are the answer to a question we can not ask", an emotional Wilson said, referring to the first time he addressed the Parliament past year.

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