Australia

Senate passes gay-marriage bill with 43 votes to 12

  • Same-sex marriage legislation passed the Senate on Wednesday with 43 votes
  • Proposed changes to a bill were comprehensively defeated late on Tuesday
  • An amendment to allow celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples was vetoed
  • The legislation will head to the House of Representatives next week

By Australian Associated Press and Brianne Tolj For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 21:44 EST, 28 November 2017 | Updated: 21:54 EST, 28 November 2017

A landmark bill legalising same-sex marriage has cleared the Senate without any major changes.

Liberal Dean Smith's private bill will now be sent to parliament's lower house where it will be debated next week after the upper house voted 43-12 in favour of the legislation.

All proposed amendments, excluding technical tweaks, were voted down with moderate coalition MPs voting with Labor and the Greens to defeat the bulk of attempts by their conservative colleagues to change the bill.

Same-sex marriage legislation is one step closer to becoming law after it was passed in the Senate on Wednesday 

Same-sex marriage legislation is one step closer to becoming law after it was passed in the Senate on Wednesday

Conservative MPs slapped down a range of amendments to the bill on Tuesday in Canberra (pictured is Senator George Brandis)Conservative MPs slapped down a range of amendments to the bill on Tuesday in Canberra (pictured is Senator George Brandis)

Conservative MPs slapped down a range of amendments to the bill on Tuesday in Canberra (pictured is Senator George Brandis)

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* Protect civil celebrants who refuse to marry same-sex couples (Attorney-General George Brandis and cabinet minister Matt Canavan, Liberal Democrats' David Leyonhjelm, One Nation, conservative Liberals James Paterson and David Fawcett)

* Protect religious freedoms (Brandis and Canavan)

* Protect 'relevant beliefs' around marriage (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Create two definitions of marriage – one as between a man and a woman and the other as between two people (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Prevent governments and agencies from taking action against people with a traditional view of marriage (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Allow parents to remove their children from classes if they believe material taught is inconsistent with their views on marriage (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Allow chaplains and authorised officers in the defence force to refuse to marry same-sex couples (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Ensure charities' tax and government funding status would not be affected if they opposed same-sex marriage (Paterson and Fawcett)

* Ensure state and territory officers have to solemnise all marriages (Leyonhjelm)

* Protect businesses which want to refuse services to same-sex marriages (Leyonhjelm)

* Ensuring state and territory anti-discrimination laws aren't limited (Greens)

* Stop civil celebrants from refusing to marry same-sex couples (Greens)

Attorney-General George Brandis, who made an impassioned speech about the historic bill, co-authored an amendment with same-sex marriage opponent Matt Canavan which was voted down.

Their proposal would have protected religious freedoms and allowed marriage celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples on religious grounds.

Amendments from Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, Pauline Hanson's One Nation and the Greens were debated on Wednesday morning.

One Nation's amendments also covered celebrants, as do Senator Leyonhjelm's.

He also wanted to give businesses the right to refuse to service same-sex weddings.

The Greens amendments, set to be opposed by Labor, included a provision to ensure state and territory anti-discrimination laws will be limited, as well as make it harder for civil celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, the upper house blocked a move to create two definitions of marriage – one between a man and a woman and the other as between two people.

That was included in one of five amendments proposed by conservative Liberal senators James Paterson and David Fawcett, which were comfortably defeated.

Senators Paterson and Fawcett also tried to ensure charities retain their existing tax and government funding status even if they oppose same-sex marriage.

But the bill's author, Liberal senator Dean Smith, tabled advice from the tax office and charities commissioner which said those fears were baseless.

An amendment allowing marriage celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples, which was co-authored by Attorney-General George Brandis  (pictured with Coalition Senator Dean Smith) and same-sex marriage opponent Matt Canavan, was voted downAn amendment allowing marriage celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples, which was co-authored by Attorney-General George Brandis  (pictured with Coalition Senator Dean Smith) and same-sex marriage opponent Matt Canavan, was voted down

An amendment allowing marriage celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples, which was co-authored by Attorney-General George Brandis (pictured with Coalition Senator Dean Smith) and same-sex marriage opponent Matt Canavan, was voted down

The upper house blocked a move to create two definitions of marriage - one between a man and a woman and the other as between two people (pictured is conservative Liberal MP James Paterson who proposed the move)The upper house blocked a move to create two definitions of marriage - one between a man and a woman and the other as between two people (pictured is conservative Liberal MP James Paterson who proposed the move)

The upper house blocked a move to create two definitions of marriage – one between a man and a woman and the other as between two people (pictured is conservative Liberal MP James Paterson who proposed the move)

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