Same-sex marriage law passes first major hurdle in Australia

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The bill will now be debated by the upper house in the House of Representatives, and if they approve of it, Australia will declare same-sex marriage legal.

The 43-12 vote came two weeks after 61.6% of voters in the national postal survey voted in favor of same-sex marriage.

The bill passed through the Australian Senate this afternoon to thunderous applause. The bill will then be debated in the House of Representatives on Monday. "It's time for our MPs to get this done".

On the other side of the debate, Labor Senate leader Penny Wong said that the law was important because of "what it means for all of us - what it says to young LGBTIQ Australians, what it says to the young man struggling with who he is or the young woman who feels alone and ashamed, what it says to the children of same-sex couples who feel ostracised".

Senator Abetz told Sky News this afternoon that while Australians had voted for same sex marriage, polls had also shown they had concerns about religious protections and these should have been implemented.

"In a world where there are more tensions between people, our country has offered a loving embrace to its own", an emotional Senator Smith said ahead of the vote.

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"Despite millions of Australian receiving their postal votes in the mail, there were many who did not receive their forms and so were deprived of their right of participating in this survey", Burston said. "I certainly am", Senator Smith said in a final speech before the vote. Your love is not lesser, and nor are you. "Essentially we are seeking a "no detriment" clause so that no one who holds a belief in traditional marriage is penalized for their belief at work or in the wider society".

Supporters of the same-sex marriage "Yes" vote celebrate in Sydney earlier this month.

On Wednesday the education minister, Simon Birmingham, said Turnbull had demonstrated "very strong leadership" by "showing a pathway through" and delivering marriage equality.

Various amendments to the bill - including moves to allow civil celebrants to refuse to perform gay weddings - were defeated in the Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday by a combination of Labor, the Greens, some Coalition senators and some crossbenchers.

'Today I am so proud of this country'.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson abstained from the final vote, as did Liberal James McGrath and Nationals Bridget McKenzie.

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