IT'S DONE: Same-sex marriage is officially legal in Australia
A historic moment for Australia!
The Bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia has passed through both houses of the Federal Parliament, clearing the way for it to be enshrined in law.
After years of fighting for equal rights, the LGBTQI community have finally won their fight. To watch the historic moment, see the video below. For those who are ready now, the first day couples will be able to get married is January 9, 2018.
Former Prime Minister John Howard amended the Marriage Act in 2004 to exclude same-sex couples.
The Marriage Amendment Bill 2017 passed through the House of Representatives at 5:59 pm today (7 December 2017), after passing through the Senate on Wednesday (29 November 2017) last week.
Australian Olympic gold medalist, Ian Thorpe was present in the public gallery with partner Ryan Channing.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ended the long debate:
"What a day, what a day for love, for equality for respect.
"It is time for more marriages, more equality, more love.
"Australia has done it!
"Let's finalise this Bill right now."
146 members voted in favour while 4 members voted against.
The MPs voting against the legislation are Russell Broadbent, Keith Pitt, David Littleproud and Bob Katter.
Because there are less than five MPs voting no the legislation is declared passed. Tony Abbott left the chamber before the final vote.
At about 3:00 pm an amendment on legal protections for charities was voted down. There were then three amendments left for The Lower House to vote on, putting Australia on the brink of a historic moment.
MP Bob Katter stirred reactions from the public galleries while arguing for amendments to the marriage equality bill to protect religious freedoms.
Katter said the debate “makes no difference as far as I can see to anything”.
He later apologised for being a "paranoid Christian".
The final amendment to the bill was defeated by 63-79 in the House of Representatives.
If any of the amendments were successful, the Bill would have to go back to the Senate.
Before Question Time and the legalisation of same-sex marriage was passed, Bill Shorten asked Malcolm Turnbull if Question Time can be abandoned to allow for the quicker passage of same-sex marriage legislation.
The Prime Minister says it was the first time an opposition has made such as request.
“In the course of this week, many hours have been taken up with Labor Party motions about citizenship and penalty rates, matters that could properly have been dealt with after marriage had been dealt with, but no the Labor Party rushed their motion in in the hope that they would get it voted on before the Member for New England made his return.
“The government is accountable in question time and so is the opposition so we will all be accountable in question time today as we are every day that parliament sits.”
Earlier, Tony Abbott attempted to thwart the Bill passing saying the decision was being made "on the run".
“A promise was made by the leaders of this parliament and this promise has not been adequately delivered on,” Mr Abbott said.
“We don’t want to see new forms of discrimination in place of old ones that are rightly gone,” he said.
He said “injustices are happening this day”, noting the case of Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous and a Canberra women who was sacked from her work after a No post on Facebook.
“Do we want today to be a day of unity, or do we want today to be a day of division?”
But finally, love is love is love.
Watch the moment Marriage Equality passed through the Parliament:
Lead Image: Getty, Video: ABC News