Same-sex marriage legalised in Australia as politicians pass historic bill

Fiona Simpson

Same-sex marriage has been made legal in Australia after politicians voted to pass a landmark bill.

The public gallery in the House of Representatives, in Canberra, erupted with applause when the bill passed.

It changes the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to "a union of two people" excluding all others. The legislation passed with a majority that wasn't challenged, although five lawmakers registered their opposition.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12.

The move comes after Australians voted ‘Yes’ in a postal survey last month following a decade of debate on the issue.

The bill was passed just before 6pm local time on Thursday (7am GMT).

The law will come into effect on Saturday but it will take around a month for marriages to be recognised officially.

(Getty Images)

The first same-sex unions will take place in January.

Scores of men and women joined in singing and chanting , ahead of what was scheduled to be Parliament's final sitting day of the year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "What a day for love, for quality, for respect.

"Australia has done it."

MPs cheered and hugged in Parliament as the bill was passed.

Campaigners celebrate the historic moment (Getty Images)

"Love has won, and it's time to pop the bubbly," Greens MP and same-sex marriage supporter Adam Bandt said.

Many took to social media to share their joy.

One person wrote: "I’m so happy. Gay marriage has been legalised in Australia. I’m so happy and excited for all of the lgbt+ people of my country.”

Another person wrote: “About time…”

While a third added: “So proud of my country today.”