Australian Parliament approves same-sex marriage following lengthy national debate

Same-sex marriage bill looks set to pass Parliament

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who had supported legalization, tweeted support for the measure after its passage.

One week ago the Senate also passed the same-sex marriage bill.

Senators who opposed the compulsory vote did not necessarily oppose legalization but said the vote would be costly and fuel hate campaigns.

Australia became the 25th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage after a Bill to do so was passed nearly unanimously through parliament just before 6pm local time (7am Irish time). Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot by last month.

Marriage equality is now a reality in Australia. "Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!"

"It's a historic day for Australia today and I think the celebrations around the country when we finally ... achieve marriage equality are going to be huge", Greens party senator Janet Rice said.

Lawmaker spent 55 hours across both houses in speeches and debate. Leading "no" campaigner Lyle Shelton said it was "deeply disappointing" day. Australia now joins a super league of 26 nations that have allowed same-sex marriages.

The House had been widely expected to approve the historic bill after the Senate approved the same legislation last week. Queues of people lined up to watch the debate from the public gallery, with some dancing and cheering. They were warned multiple times that parliamentary rules prohibit them from making noise and even applauding.

MPs have paid tribute to Entsch over the pass few weeks for his efforts, with the veteran Liberal MP speaking passionately about his "very lonely" journey in support of equal rights on the conservative side of politics. Simply and fairly, #MarriageEquality is now law! "My wife and I, as a matter of conscience, refuse to recognize the government's regulation of marriage if its definition includes the solemnization of same sex couples". They included prominent same-sex marriage advocates, including former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe and local comedian Magda Szubanski.

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