Australian PM says government aims to legalise same-sex marriage by year-end

Australian PM says government aims to legalise same-sex marriage by year-end

More than 12million voters turned out with 61per cent in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

A cross-party group of senators - led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, amongst others - will introduce a private bill to the upper house on Wednesday, just hours after the survey result is announced. Service providers such as, florists and bakers would be allowed to refuse to serve gay weddings.

The bill ensures exemptions for ministers of religion and celebrants with genuine belief and allows a limited form of conscientious objection.

In September, the Australian government chose to hold a non-binding, non-compulsory postal survey on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The debate on the Smith bill is expected to start on Thursday and carry through to the next parliamentary sitting week, beginning in late November.

His bill would also roll back anti-discrimination measures and allow government employees to refuse to register a same-sex couple's wedding.

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The bill would also guarantee the right of parents to opt their children out of school classes that conflicted with their values.

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been grilled relentlessly by reporters over his leadership in the same-sex marriage debate.

In a speech after the result Equality Campaign spokesman, Alex Greenwich, said: "Today love has had a landslide victory".

Australia has become increasingly isolated among Western nations on same-sex marriage, with Germany, the USA and Ireland recently joining countries including the United Kingdom and New Zealand in legalizing unions.

Australians have made history, voting overwhelming in favor of marriage equality. Australians believe in a fair go for all - this Bill goes completely against what people have voted for'.

This gives the Smith bill an immediate advantage over its legislative rival, a bill penned by Liberal senator James Paterson.

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