Australia legalises same-sex marriage, joins neighbours New Zealand and 27 other nations

On Thursday, Australia became the latest country to legalise same-sex marriage. Australia's Parliament passed a bill legalising same-sex marriage after the nation overwhelmingly voted for it in an unofficial referendum in November.

Members of parliament, from left, Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt and Andrew Wilkie celebrate the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra. AP

Members of parliament celebrate passing of Marriage Amendment Bill in Canberra on Thursday. AP

Cheers and applause broke out as lawmakers voted in favour of the bill following hours of debate and emotional speeches at Parliament House in Canberra, CNN  reported on Thursday.

"What a day for love, for quality, for respect! Australia has done it," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the House. Turnbull had vowed to pass the bill before Christmas after most lawmakers agreed to honour the "will of Australians", who voted in favour of same-sex marriage in a recent nationwide postal vote.

The Thursday vote put an end to a decade-old political wrangling shortly after Australia's upper House Senate passed a bill paving way for legalising same-sex marriage on 29 November.

"We are a part of an act of acceptance, an act of inclusion, an act of respect, an act of celebration, a day when this Senate declares our acceptance of our LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer) brothers and our sisters," Australia's highest-profile gay politician, Labor's Penny Wong, said at the time. "(The bill) says to so many Australians, this parliament, this country, accepts you for who you are. Your love is not lesser, and nor are you."

Australia followed neighbour New Zealand, which passed a law in April 2013 legalising gay marriage and adoptions. Around the world, 28 countries have  legalised same-sex marriage nationwide or in some region.

Same-sex marriage has been legalised in countries such as Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.

Meanwhile, Taiwan, Austria, Israel and Armenia are also preparing to legalise same-sex marriage.

With inputs from AFP

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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2017 08:44 AM

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