Same-sex marriage officially signed into law in Australia

A couple celebrates the vote in MelbourneImage copyright
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Same-sex marriage supporters have celebrated across Australia

Same-sex marriage has been officially signed into law in Australia, a day after MPs overwhelmingly approved a historic bill.

Australia’s Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed off on the law on Friday – a formality required to enact the legislation.

The vote on Thursday set off rarely matched celebrations in parliament, including cheers, hugs and a song.

Supporters celebrated across Australia, many donning rainbow colours.

“Now part of Australian law,” said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after a brief ceremony on Friday.

Mr Cosgrove, the Queen’s representative in Australia, said he would immediately consider its starting date. It is likely to be Saturday, local media reported.

The government said it expected that marriage ceremonies would take place from 9 January, given couples must give a month’s notice of their intention to wed.

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Media captionCheers and a sing-song: Australian MPs back gay marriage

Same-sex weddings conducted overseas will be immediately recognised in Australia.

“It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying we love and respect you, now go out there and get married,” Mr Turnbull said on Friday.

The legislation sailed through parliament without amendments after Australians overwhelmingly supported the reform in a voluntary national poll.

Mr Turnbull called the marriage reform one of the most significant achievements of his government to date.

However, the government has also faced criticism from political opponents who say it delayed the legislation due to internal division.

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