Parliament Legalises Same Sex Marriage

Federal parliament legalised same sex marriage, with all but four MPs voting to pass the bill.

The laws went through unchanged after 56 hours of debate despite a push from conservative politicians for additional exemptions including for religious organisations, civil celebrants and chaplains.

Couples will be able to lodge an notice of intended marriage from this Saturday, to start the minimum notice period required before getting married from January 9.

“What a day! What a day for love, for equality, for respect,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in parliament moments before the bill was passed.

“Australia has done it.”

Only four MPs in the House of Representatives voted against the bill during the vote, which came a week after the legislation was agreed to by the Senate.

A packed public gallery applauded and began singing “I am Australian”.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the new law reflect a modern Australia that was “inclusive and fair”.

“We are no longer a nation of people who voted no, or people who voted yes – we are simply Australians, one and all,” he said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale described the vote as a great moment.

“In what has been a bleak year for Australian politics, we saw a rainbow poking through,” he said.

The new laws will allow ministers of religion and marriage celebrants will be able to act in accordance of their beliefs about marriage.

Religious bodies will be able to act in accordance with their doctrines, tenets and beliefs in providing facilities, goods and services in connection to marriage.

More than 120 MPs spoke on the bill which was sponsored by gay Liberal senator Dean Smith and backed by Warren Entsch, Trent Zimmerman, Tim Wilson and Trevor Evans.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Scott Morrison, junior minister Michael Sukkar and Alex Hawke, as well as backbenchers Andrew Hastie, Andrew Broad and Sarah Henderson were unsuccessful in trying to change the bill.

Coalition MPs Kieth Pitt, David Little proud and Russell Broadbent as well as independent Bob Latter voted against the bill.

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