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BREAKING NEWS: It's a YES from Parliament! MPs vote in favour of same sex marriage with the change set to be the law of the land in days - and the first weddings expected in the new year

  • Same-sex marriage has officially been legalised in Australia following a vote by both houses in Parliament
  • Vote came back overwhelmingly in favour of the bill following Australia's postal survey results in November 
  • House of Representatives erupted in celebration as the decision was handed down after hours of debate
  • 'What a day for love, for equality, for respect,' an impassioned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said
  • Supporters across the country are rejoicing at events, bars and in the streets after the historic announcement

Same-sex marriage will officially be legalised in Australia after both houses of Parliament voted in favour of the historic change. 

The House of Representatives voted to pass same-sex marriage into law on Thursday afternoon after a months-long public debate that has created tension and division.

Ministers erupted in celebration as the landmark result was handed down, with many shedding tears of joy and embracing.

A rainbow flag was brought into the room by a minister who proudly held it aloft as the viewing gallery cheered.

'What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!' an impassioned Malcolm Turnbull said immediately following the announcement.

'Today we've voted for love, for equality. It's time for more marriages, more love, more respect. This belongs to us all. This is Australia.' 

The House of Representatives voted to pass same-sex marriage into law on Thursday afternoon after a months-long public debate

The House of Representatives voted to pass same-sex marriage into law on Thursday afternoon after a months-long public debate

A rainbow flag was brought into the room by a minister who proudly held it aloft as the viewing gallery cheered

A rainbow flag was brought into the room by a minister who proudly held it aloft as the viewing gallery cheered

Ministers were unable to contain their joy after the decision was handed down to legalise same-sex marriage

Ministers were unable to contain their joy after the decision was handed down to legalise same-sex marriage

Magda Szubanski celebrates on the lawn of Parliament House after the result was handed down

Magda Szubanski celebrates on the lawn of Parliament House after the result was handed down

'What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!' an impassioned Malcolm Turnbull said immediately following the announcement

'What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!' an impassioned Malcolm Turnbull said immediately following the announcement

More than 7.8 million Australians – about 62 per cent of voters – gave their support to the reform in a voluntary postal survey.  

The bill, which passed the Senate in late November, will now go to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove for royal assent. It will become law in days. 

The first weddings are expected to be held in early January, because couples are required to give 30 days advance notice for nuptials under existing laws.   

The prime minister had promised to pass the reform into law by Christmas and called on lawmakers to heed the 'overwhelming' survey result.

The issue was put to a conscience vote for parliamentarians, meaning politicians could vote as individuals rather than follow the party line.  

Some politicians had vowed to vote down the change despite the outcome of the survey, claiming they were representing the 38.4 per cent of Australians who voted No. 

However, their objections were vastly overshadowed as only four people chose to vote against same-sex marriage, providing a powerful lasting image for the debate.

Right: The ministers in favour of same-sex marriage. Left: those against. An overwhelming victory for love and a powerful lasting image for the debate

Right: The ministers in favour of same-sex marriage. Left: those against. An overwhelming victory for love and a powerful lasting image for the debate

The prime minister had promised to pass the reform into law by Christmas and called on lawmakers to heed the 'overwhelming' survey result

The prime minister had promised to pass the reform into law by Christmas and called on lawmakers to heed the 'overwhelming' survey result

Ministers erupted in celebration as the result was handed down, with many shedding tears of joy and embracing

Ministers erupted in celebration as the result was handed down, with many shedding tears of joy and embracing

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten immediately took to Twitter to celebrate the result

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten immediately took to Twitter to celebrate the result

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek also took to social media, saying 'love prevailed'

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek also took to social media, saying 'love prevailed'

'Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!' Turnbull said.

'And the Parliament has got on with it and we have voted today for a quality, for love, it is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who was voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all.'

'This ease Australia! Fair! Diverse in the loving and filled with respect. For everyone of us, this a great day of its belongs to every Australian, the 45th Parliament is doing its job delivering, getting on with it, it is fair, we have done the work, we have done it together. Let's do it, let's finalise the deal right now!' 

Same sex marriage including television star Magda Szubanski and Olympic champion Ian Thorpe spent the day at Parliament, rallying on the front lawn and keeping a close eye on proceedings. 

The final bill was authored by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith. 

Australians around the country have erupted in celebration at events, bars and in the streets

Australians around the country have erupted in celebration at events, bars and in the streets

More than 7.8 million Australians - about 62 per cent of voters - gave their support to the reform in a voluntary postal survey

More than 7.8 million Australians – about 62 per cent of voters – gave their support to the reform in a voluntary postal survey

The first weddings are expected to be held in early January, because couples are required to give 30 days advance notice for nuptials under existing laws

The first weddings are expected to be held in early January, because couples are required to give 30 days advance notice for nuptials under existing laws

'Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!' Turnbull said of the postal survey

'Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!' Turnbull said of the postal survey

Supporters of the law change clad in rainbow-coloured attire and holding signs came together outside parliament to celebrate on what is an emotional day for many

Supporters of the law change clad in rainbow-coloured attire and holding signs came together outside parliament to celebrate on what is an emotional day for many

Pictured outside Parliament celebrating were television star and prominent same-sex marriage campaigner Magda Szubanski

Pictured outside Parliament celebrating were television star and prominent same-sex marriage campaigner Magda Szubanski

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster was also in attendance outside Parliament to celebrate

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster was also in attendance outside Parliament to celebrate

Ambassadors and volunteers from the Equality Campaign are pictured gathered in front of Parliament House

Ambassadors and volunteers from the Equality Campaign are pictured gathered in front of Parliament House

Same-sex marriage campaigners Alex Greenwich and Magda Szubanski dance as they call on the gay marriage bill to be passed

Same-sex marriage campaigners Alex Greenwich and Magda Szubanski dance as they call on the gay marriage bill to be passed

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster was also in Canberra for the occasion.  

Mr Abbott has said he is looking forward to his sister's impending nuptials, which are expected to be held in February. 

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

Queensland crossbench MP Bob Katter also delivered a bizarre speech on the issue, making accusations that gay people were 'murderers' and responsible for AIDS.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also confirmed he had separated from his wife Natalie during the debate.    

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