Same-sex marriage signed into law by the Governor General

Appropriating Ecclesiastes 3, Shorten said there was a season for everything: "It is now a time to heal, a time to build, a time to laugh, a time to embrace, a time to love and now, at last, a time for marriage equality".

The bill passed its third reading with only four members of Parliament in opposition.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government had introduced the Bill after a postal ballot indicated widespread support for same-sex marriage across the country.

During the Lower House debate, more than 100 MPs spoke for over 28 hours on the proposed Bill.

Australian law says couples must wait 30 days to get married once they apply to do so. "This is a great day, it belongs to every Australian".

Congratulations to Australia, most especially to those who fought long and hard to make this a reality! He turned to the public gallery, where Bolger was sitting. Some lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought to insert amendments into the Bill, but all of the proposed changes were voted down.

The next day, Liberal MP Andrew Wallace, who is a devout Catholic, shared with his colleagues how his gay daughter helped change his position on same-sex marriage.

"We've voted today for equality, for love, it's time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect", he continued.

The law will come into effect in the new year.

The House of Representatives is holding its final two-week session of the year, which is giving priority to lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Australia. With a 28-day notice period to get married, it will be late January before Australia sees its first same-sex marriage under federal legislation.

Australia joins about two dozen countries around the world, including Germany, which have legalized same-sex marriage.

  • Joey Payne