Canberra passes same-sex marriage bill

Gay marriage bill passed in ACT
The ACT has become the first Australian jurisdiction to legalise same-sex marriages.

The bill establishing Australia’s first same-sex marriage scheme was passed in an eight-to-seven vote this afternoon.

The new law will allow same-sex couples to marry in Australia by year’s end, however, Prime Minister Tony Abbot has said his government will challenge the constitutionality of the bill in the High Court.

The ACT’s openly gay Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr told The Canberra Times the law would help transform Canberra into a “rainbow territory’’ or a “city of love’’.

“It marks an important step in our journey to become the most LGBTI [lesbian, gay, transsexual and intersex] city in Australia,’’ Mr Barr told The Canberra Times.

“Whether it’s the rainbow territory, the city of love, it’s an important journey for us. I have no doubt that this reform will transform many lives.”

Mr Barr choked back tears during the debate as he discussed the challenges faced not just by gay and lesbian people, but also their families and supporters.

The bill was supported by all eight Labor members and Greens members of the Legislative Assembly, Shane Rattenbury.

All eight Liberals members opposed the bill arguing marriage is a federal issue.

The passing of the law was greeted by raucous applause and the public gallery broke out into a rendition of Love is in the Air.

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