Same-sex marriage may be law in Australia by early December

By REUTERS
November 16, 2017 08:42
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MELBOURNE, Nov 16 - Australian lawmakers on Thursday vowed to push through laws legalizing same-sex marriage by early December, after a national survey found the majority of Australians favored the move.

Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition government and the main opposition Labor Party said they were aiming to pass the law through parliament by Dec. 7.

That timeline was even earlier than the Christmas deadline named by Turnbull on Wednesday after the country's statistics agency reported that 61.6 percent of voters surveyed favored marriage equality, with 38.4 percent against.

Legislation was rushed into the national parliament's upper house Senate late on Wednesday, even as colorful celebrations in the major cities continued and congratulations rolled in from international supporters.

If the legislation passes as expected, Australia will become the 26th nation to legalize same-sex marriage, a watershed for a country where it was still illegal in some states to engage in homosexual activity until 1997.

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