Same-sex marriage will officially be legalised in Australia after both houses of Parliament voted in favour of the historic change.
The House of Representatives voted to pass same-sex marriage into law on Thursday afternoon after a months-long public debate.
More than 7.8 million Australians – about 62 per cent of voters – gave their support to the reform in a voluntary postal survey.
The bill, which passed the Senate in late November, will now go to Governor-General Peter Cosgrove for royal assent. It will become law in days.
The first weddings are expected to be held in early January, because couples are required to give 30 days advance notice for nuptials under existing laws.
‘What a day, what a day for love, for equality, for respect. Australia has done it!’ an impassioned Malcolm Turnbull said immediately following the announcement.
‘Today we’ve voted for love, for equality. It’s time for more marriages, more love, more respect. This belongs to us all. This is Australia.’
The prime minister had promised to pass the reform into law by Christmas and called on lawmakers to heed the ‘overwhelming’ survey result.
The issue was put to a conscience vote for parliamentarians, meaning politicians could vote as individuals rather than follow the party line.
Some politicians had vowed to vote down the change despite the outcome of the survey, claiming they were representing the 38.4 per cent of Australians who voted No.
‘Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!’ Turnbull said.
‘And the Parliament has got on with it and we have voted today for a quality, for love, it is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who was voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all.’
‘This ease Australia! Fair! Diverse in the loving and filled with respect. For everyone of us, this a great day of its belongs to every Australian, the 45th Parliament is doing its job delivering, getting on with it, it is fair, we have done the work, we have done it together. Let’s do it, let’s finalise the deal right now!’
Same sex marriage including television star Magda Szubanski and Olympic champion Ian Thorpe spent the day at Parliament, rallying on the front lawn and keeping a close eye on proceedings.
The final bill was authored by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Christine Forster was also in Canberra for the occasion.
Mr Abbott has said he is looking forward to his sister’s impending nuptials, which are expected to be held in February.
Earlier this week, Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger shortly after the bill was introduced to the lower house.
Queensland crossbench MP Bob Katter also delivered a bizarre speech on the issue, making accusations that gay people were ‘murderers’ and responsible for AIDS.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also confirmed he had separated from his wife Natalie during the debate.