Australian parliament approves same-sex marriage

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"We've voted today for equality, for love, it's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. The Senate had passed the same legislation last week.

Just four members voted against the bill.

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.

Prime Minister Turnbull campaigned in 2015 on the promise of having a revisitation of Australia's marriage laws. "A time to build, a time to love, and is now at last a time for marriage equality", he said.

"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 vast", Greens party senator Janet Rice said.

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.

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Australian law says couples must wait 30 days to get married once they apply to do so.

In the capital Canberra, applause welled up from the House gallery after the chamber on Thursday followed Australia's Senate in approving the Marriage Amendment Bill of 2017.

Almost eight out of 10 eligible voters participated in the survey, according to the government.

Politicians, who had cast aside a conservative push to allow religious objectors to refuse service to same-sex couples, waved rainbow flags and embraced on the floor of the chamber, where earlier in the debate a politician had proposed to his same-sex partner.

"This bill will take from no-one; it simply makes our nation a kinder and a fairer place", Entsch told parliament this week. One MP's speech ended with a marriage proposal - a first for the lower house.

Same-sex marriage is now recognised in more than 20 countries, of which 16 are in Europe. They included prominent same-sex marriage advocates, including former Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe and local comedian Magda Szubanski.

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