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Aussie Parliament okays same-sex marriage; heres how it came about

The public gallery of the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed

Aussie Parliament okays same-sex marriage; heres how it came about

On expected lines, the Australian Parliament voted on Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across the nation.

The decision was followed by a bitter and divisive debate settled by the government.

The public gallery of the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed to change the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to “a union of two people” excluding all others.

The legislation passed with a majority that wasn’t challenged, although five lawmakers registered their opposition to the bill.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

Amendments meant to safeguard freedoms of speech and religion for gay-marriage opponents were all rejected, though those issues may be considered later.

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

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