September 24, 2018
Latest News

Australia in final stages of debate to legalize same-sex marriage

Sydney, Australia, Dec 7 (efe-epa).- The Australian Parliament Thursday reached the final stages of debate over a historic bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

The House of Representatives is set to vote late Thursday on the bill that was presented by Senator Dean Smith and was approved decisively by the Senate last week.

The bill will become a law if it is passed without amendments that conservative lawmakers have asked for, including allowing priests to refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages.

The bill was introduced after a majority of Australians had voted in favor of same-sex marriages in a non-binding postal vote convened by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

This led the Conservative coalition government to present a bill to reform the Marriage Act of 1961, which was amended in 2004 to clarify that marriage was exclusively a union between a man and a woman.

In December 2013, the High Court had overturned a law allowing same-sex weddings in the Australian Capital Territory on grounds that it was in breach of the 1961 Federal Marriage Act.

Similar legislative proposals have earlier failed in the states of Tasmania and New South Wales.

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