Australian Parliament OKs same-sex marriage

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A final parliamentary vote on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage has passed.

Parliament passed the Same Sex Marriage Act with a vote of 154 in favour today.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger shortly after the bill was introduced to the lower house.

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

The House of Representatives is widely expected to pass the legislation on Thursday, after the bill drew broad cross-party support. When the Attorney-General ratifies the law, same-sex marriage will finally be legal.

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The major parties want the legislation passed this week after a majority of Australian's endorsed change in a postal ballot last month.

Several government MPs, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have said they will support or at least consider changes to be put forward by their conservative colleagues - namely Andrew Hastie and Michael Sukkar. "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.

The government has appointed a panel to examine how to safeguard religious freedoms once gay marriage was a reality in Australia.

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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