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The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) bill, which, if passed, will formally change the Marriage Act to legalise same-sex marriage, is now progressing through the House of Representatives with a vote expected today.

The votes in favour of the bill were not even counted as a majority was not questioned.

Just four members voted against the bill.

Australia's House of Representatives backed a bill to change the definition of marriage from a union between a man and a woman to "a union of two people".

The Governor-General could ratify the law this week to make same-sex marriage legal, which would meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's hope to get it done by Christmas.

"What a day for love, for equality, for respect", said. "Marriage equality is finally the law of the land and it's time to start celebrating".

Following a national postal survey that indicated overwhelming approval for marriage equality, lawmakers road this momentum to draft a multilateral, cross-party bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

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"This is Australia, fair and diverse, loving and filled with respect".

After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

The passing of the bill will also have another change when it comes to gender, which could actually affect some couples who have divorced.

"It's a historic day for Australia today and I think the celebrations around the country when we finally ... achieve marriage equality are going to be enormous", Greens party senator Janet Rice said.

Nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters took part in the poll, and almost 62pc of the 12.7 million people who participated chose "yes" on their ballots.

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.

Australia is the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality for same-sex couples.


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