Australia Lawmakers Allow Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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The Australian House of Representatives on Thursday almost unanimously approved a bill that would extend marriage rights for same-sex couples.

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

Less then four MPs voted no on the Bill, which is set to become law in days after it goes to the Governor-General, reported ABC News.

Thursday's vote comes three weeks after the Australian public voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage as part of a national postal survey lasting two months.

The attorney general, George Brandis, said marriage equality will be the "imperishable legacy" of this government under prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

"What a day for love, for equality, for respect! A time to build, a time to love, and is now at last a time for marriage equality", he said.

Additionally, the passing of the same-sex marriage law will be a strategic political win for Turnbull, who has been strongly opposed by his predecessor Tony Abbott, a staunch supporter of conventional marriage.

The parliamentarians who voted in favor of same-sex marriage took time to let the jubilant moment sink in, celebrating with hugs and handshakes and proudly sporting rainbow-colored clothing. "This is a great day, it belongs to every Australian".

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"Do we want today to be a day of unity, or do we want today to be a day of division?" .

At a press conference after the vote, the Equality Campaign co-chair, Alex Greenwich, said: "We came, we saw and love finally conquered".

The first legal same-sex weddings in Australia could happen about January 8, 2018.

The legislation, drafted by Liberal Senator Dean Smith, passed through the upper house last week without any changes.

"This is Australia - fair, diverse and filled with respect".

Five lawmakers have registered their opposition to Australia's bill allowing same-sex marriage across the nation.

Australians have always been in favor of same-sex marriage, with polling from as long as 10 years ago showing majority support for legalizing marriage equality.