Australia's parliament approves legalisation of same-sex marriage

Australia's parliament has voted to allow same-sex marriage across the nation.

The House of Representatives passed the bill to change the definition of marriage from solely between a man and a woman to "a union of two people".

The votes were not counted because the majority was not questioned.

The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12.

After royal assent and other formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later.

Amendments meant to safeguard freedoms of speech and religion for gay-marriage opponents were all rejected, though those issues may be considered later.

Members of parliament, from left, Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt and Andrew Wilkie celebrate the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra.

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