Australian lawmaker says uncertainty won't stop gay marriage

Thursday, 07 Dec, 2017

Same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia, with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying.

The Australian Parliament has voted to allow same-sex marriage across the nation, following a bitter and divisive debate settled by the government polling voters in a much-criticized ballot survey that strongly endorsed change.

The Senate voted decisively in favour of the legislation last week.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger shortly after the bill was introduced to the lower house.

On Monday, the debate on the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 kicked off in the House of Representatives.

Media captionWill you marry me?

Gay rights advocates have celebrated outside Australia's Parliament House in anticipation of same-sex marriage being legalized within hours.

The house spent the day voting on amendments to the bill, none of which passed (otherwise it would have gone back to the Senate).

The government has appointed a panel to examine how to safeguard religious freedoms once gay marriage was a reality in Australia.

Turnbull, a gay marriage supporter, says he wants wedding celebrants, not just those affiliated with churches, to have the right to refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages. Nearly 80 percent of Australia's registered voters took part in the two-month survey.