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When are the first same-sex marriages in Australia?

December 8, 2017
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15: Rebecca Davies and her partner Paula Van Bruggen kiss as they celebrate in the crowd 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)

(Getty)

Same-sex marriage has officially been signed into Australian law.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to gain Royal Assent for the new law.

In Australia as in Britain, laws are only enacted once signed by a representative of Queen Elizabeth, their head of state.

The move means a date can now be set for the first same-sex weddings.

Turnbull had previously called for wedding bells by Christmas, something experts said was unlikely.

The passage of the bill through parliament surprised many, though, with few major objections along the way and many former opponents agreeing to back the bill.

Warren Entsch (L) and Senator Dean Smith, who proposed the marriage equality law

Unfortunately for those with Christmas weddings in mind, Australia has rules determining the notice period for a marriage ceremony.

A one month written notice must be given – meaning the first gay weddings will be on January 9.

The law was formally passed by Thursday, with only four MPs voting against the motion.

(Photo by Michael Masters/Getty Images)

RELATED: This MP’s gay son died just weeks before she voted for his right to marry

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. “I am, you are, we are Australian.”

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.

(AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY)

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.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said: “When this bill is passed we should declare we are no longer a nation who voted no or yes, we are simply Australians all.

“Equality is never a gift to be given.”

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)

13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot to endorse the law, with two thirds backing the new law.

Australia is the 25th country in the world to have marriage equality.

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

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