Parliament breaks into song as same-sex marriage bill passes

Published: 08 December 2017

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The House of Representatives briefly became a party last night when MPs almost unanimously passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage.

Only four MPs – Bob Katter, Keith Pitt, David Littleproud and Russell Broadbent – opposed the bill, with Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison abstaining.

The number of ‘Yes’ votes was not recorded, as this is ‘standard practice’ when the number of ‘no’ votes are four or fewer.

MPs from all parties embraced and sang in the Lower House as members of the public gallery celebrated the result.

Warren Entsch, who helped draft the bill, told Parliament before the vote: “It is now our job as members of Parliament to pass a fair bill that does not extend or create any new discriminations.”

“It is a strong bill that already strikes the right balance between equality and freedom of religion.” 

Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove formally gave royal assent to the bill this morning.

The law will take effect next month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

Amendments introduced to safeguard freedoms of speech and religion for gay-marriage opponents were all rejected, but a panel was appointed to examine how to safeguard religious freedoms once gay marriages begin.

It follows a public survey that posted a 62 percent result in favour of same-sex marriage.