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BREAKING NEWS

Australian Senators approve same-sex marriage law

Australia's Senate passes same-sex marriage law, dismissing conservative efforts to let religious objectors refuse to provide wedding services to gay couples

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Australian Senators approve same-sex marriage law

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A big step has been taken towards same-sex marriage in Australia.

The country's Senate has passed legislation on the issue, dismissing conservative efforts to let religious objectors refuse to provide wedding services to gay couples.

Senate opposition leader Penny Wong told the chamber: "Every day it is a great privilege to stand in this place. But there are some days which are of great moment, which change our country for the better. This is such a day."

 "This day has been a long time coming," said Wong. "A day for which many of us have worked in our parties, a day for which many in the Australian community have worked. A day many of us have hoped for. 

"It was not long ago in this country that gay and lesbian Australians were targeted by the criminal law for who they were. It wasn't that long ago it was legal to discriminate against us simply for who we are. 

"But equality is a remarkably persistent principle, it is a defining principle. A principle that springs from the simple and powerful precept of the inherent dignity of every individual, of every human being and so it has been through human history. The aspiration for equality is the hallmark for our progress."

The bill has now been forwarded to the lower house of parliament where it is expected to be passed next week.

Australians overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage in a postal survey run by the national statistics agency.