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Australian parliament spontaneously breaks into song as same-sex marriage legalised

December 7, 2017

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Trent Zimmerman celebrates at Parliament House on December 7, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the voices and no count was made due to the overwhelming support for the bill on the final day of sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Michael Masters/Getty Images)

Australia’s parliament broke into celebration as a law permitting same-sex couples to marry was finally approved.

The motion was approved almost unanimously by the House of Representatives, after passing the upper chamber last week.

Politicians and members of the public, watching in the gallery, broke into cheers, tears and song following the vote.

In extraordinary scenes that would usually be considered unparliamentary, the parliament broke into I Am Australian, a popular song some argue should be the country’s national anthem.

Labor Member of Parliament Linda Burney

“We are one, but we are many,” they belted out in unison.

“And from all the lands on earth we come.

“We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice.

“I am, you are, we are Australian.”

Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY

Onlookers in the packed public gallery hugged, cheered loudly and started applauding and waving their rainbow flags.

MPs were seen crying in the chamber, while others were lifted from their feet as the hugged colleagues.

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, gave an emotional speech as he declared: “What a day for love, for quality, for respect. Australia has done it!”

“This is Australia, fair and diverse, loving and filled with respect.”

The move comes after almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot to endorse the law.

Australia is the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The final legislative victory follows years of activism and a three-month community campaign by the Equality Campaign.

13 years ago Australia changed the law to explicitly outlaw same-sex marriages.

Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY

The author of the cross-party bill, the Liberal senator Dean Smith, told ABC News the passage of marriage equality was “a measure of what can be done when people put some of their partisan politics behind”.

The Equality Campaign said: “This Bill ensures every LGBTI Australian will now be treated equally with the same dignity and respect as their fellow Australians and will be able to marry the person they love.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: People in the crowd celebrate as the result is announced during the Official Melbourne Postal Survey Result Announcement at the State Library of Victoria on November 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Australians have voted for marriage laws to be changed to allow same-sex marriage, with the Yes vote defeating No. Despite the Yes victory, the outcome of Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is not binding, and the process to change current laws will move to the Australian Parliament in Canberra. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
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“To the many LGBTI Australians who have gone before us – thank you. The YES Campaign salutes you and we are eternally grateful for the path you paved, the path that enables us to be here today. Today is in your honour.

“To every young LGBTI Australian across the nation, today ensures there will never be a question about whether you can have the same dreams, aspirations and opportunities as your brothers, sisters and friends.

“For those who have waited months, years or decades to finally have the chance to marry, it’s now your time.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Supporters of the 'Yes' vote for marriage equality celebrate at Melbourne's Result Street Party on November 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Australians have voted for marriage laws to be changed to allow same-sex marriage, with the Yes vote claiming 61.6% to to 38.4% for No vote. Despite the Yes victory, the outcome of Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is not binding, and the process to change current laws will move to the Australian Parliament in Canberra. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“This has been a tough road for LGBTI Australians, their families and friends. However, achieving marriage equality today enables us to move forward stronger and more resilient, knowing that no Australian has to ever live through this experience again.

“We thank the millions of Australians who voted YES and we want to assure every Australian who didn’t that marriage equality will take from no-one and simply make our nation a kinder, fairer and more inclusive place to live.

“Today we celebrate that finally the law recognises what we always knew: our lives and relationships have the same value and worth. We are equal.

“We did this together, be proud.”

More: Australia, Australia, Equality, Gay, LGBT, same sex marriage

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