Tony Abbott's bid to delay bill fails

Sergio Conner
December 7, 2017

Not all speeches backed gay marriage, however.

"The Australian people have decided by a majority that same-sex marriage will be legislated in this country, and I have no doubt that the Bill will be passed by the House of Representatives".

More than 100 MPs had delivered speeches, many emotional, in the lead-up to the final vote with most in support of changes to the Marriage Act.

"There's only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?"

The Senate voted decisively in favour of the legislation last week.

The bill is expected to reach a final vote later on Thursday, after parliament considers a series of amendments from conservative government MPs and the Greens.

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

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Gay rights advocates have celebrated outside Australia's Parliament House in anticipation of same-sex marriage being legalized within hours.

The House of Representatives is widely expected to vote to at allow same-sex marriage across the nation.

"We must not fail to recognize that there is honest, heartfelt anxiety about the bill's impact on religious freedom", Turnbull said.

"The bill which the Senate passed is a robust bill, a whole range of religious protections are already in place", Entsch said in introducing the bill.

Further debate on amendments delayed the vote until almost 6pm tonight.

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

Drafting such measures into the Australian bill would delay it, but several gay marriage opponents have told Parliament this week they would not stand in the way of marriage equality because the Australian public clearly supported it in a recent postal ballot. Nearly 80 percent of Australia's registered voters took part in the two-month survey.

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