Australia Lawmakers Allow Same-Sex Marriage Bill

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Australian parliament has passed same-sex marriage into law after the bill was passed in the House of Representatives.

As the proceedings unfolded in parliament #MarriageEquality began trending in top spot worldwide.

The House vote took place on the last sitting day of parliament for the year, with more than 100 MPs speaking on the bill this week. "Marriage equality is finally the law of the land and it's time to start celebrating". "And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it".

It was opposed by proponents of same-sex marriage, who wanted direct legislative action and argued a poll would expose gay people and their families to hate speech.

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"This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect for everyone", said an effusive Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as he introduced the bill for a final vote.

"This is a day for every Australian".

"In one of the last conversations I had with him he just said to me 'Hendo, just bloody well get on with it ok?'."

Activists have praised the passage of this bill as a historical landmark and a symbol of the progress made by Australia's LGBT community. Queues of people lined up to watch the debate from the public gallery, with some dancing and cheering.

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Abbott and other conservatives proposed amendments to the bill to include further religious protections, all of which were voted down.

"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 enormous", Greens party senator Janet Rice said.

The House of Representatives passed the bill to change the definition of marriage from exclusively between a man and a man to "a union of two people".

In the end, 61.6% of Australia voted in favor of allowing same-sex marriage, with 38.4% saying "no".

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