Australia’s parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday, to become the 26th nation that allows homosexual marriage.
The majority of MPs (Members of Parliament) voted in favor of the bill following hours of debate and speeches at Parliament House in Canberra, with only four members in oppositions out of the 150 MPs.
The results bring to an end more than a decade of debate on the issue. “What a day for love, for equality, for respect,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
This move follows a two-month national postal survey that showed 61% (more than 12 million) of the respondents were in favor of marriage equality. Australia’s governor-general is expected to approve the bill within the coming days to mark its official passage into the law.
However, other politicians expressed their opposition. “It is a special relationship between man and a woman for the purpose, if you are so lucky, for bringing children into the world,” said Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on Thursday.
Australia’s first same-sex marriage will not take place until at least January due to a requirement for all Australian couples to provide a full month’s notice of their intention to get married. And couples who got married overseas will automatically have their marriages recognized in Australia.