National / World

Australia to hold same-sex marriages from January 2018


Canberra, Dec 8 (IANS): The Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove on Friday signed the law to legalise same-sex marriages, which are now allowed to take place from January 9, 2018, onwards.

Following Parliament's approval of the legislation on Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney General George Brandis on Friday presented the law before the representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Australia to complete the process of approval, reports Efe news.

The bill to modify the Marriage Act of 1961, which was amended in 2004 to specify that marriage is exclusive between a woman and a man, was approved by the lower house on Thursday, one week after the Senate did so.

From midnight onwards, the law will recognise same-sex marriages that took place abroad, while couples who marry in the country under the law must notify their intentions one month in advance.

The debate in Parliament, which was marked by the personal emotions of the legislators and even provoked the liberal Tim Wilson to propose to his partner, was held after the result of a non-binding postal survey indicated that more than 61 per cent of the population believed same-sex marriages should be legal.

The survey was called by Turnbull in fulfilment of an election promise after he failed to sway Parliament to approve a referendum on the matter due to the opposition of the Labour and Green parties.

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