Australian Parliament OKs same-sex marriage

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Gay marriage campaigners including television star Magda Szubanski have gathered outside Parliament to celebrate as same-sex unions are about to be legalised.

Same-sex marriage supporters wearing colourful "Yes" T-shirts clapped and cheered as amendments were voted down, prompting repeated warnings they should stop their barracking.

The House of Representatives is holding its final two-week session of the year, which is giving priority to lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Australia.

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

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The bill is now law, pending royal assent from the Governor-General, which is a ceremonial process.

But several lawmakers including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intend to persist with amendments rejected by the Senate.

The bill passed the House of Representatives this afternoon after hours of emotional debate, with more than one hundred MPs speaking on the issue. "The question though is we need to get the balances right in terms of the protections of those people who have fundamental beliefs based on religion or otherwise", he added. Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot by last month.

While marriage equality could become law this week, state marriage registries have said they could not proceed with weddings until January due to paperwork.

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