Australia legalises same-sex marriage

December 07, 2017

There has been jubilation in parliament after the passing of laws to allow same-sex marriage.

A government MP insists broadening exemptions in a bill to legalise same-sex marriage won't arm Australians with a sword to be bigots.

Conservative Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie will propose several changes to the legislation before it gets to a final vote this week.

He wants additional safeguards for people who - for religious or conscientious reasons - believe marriage is only between a man and woman, and "associated beliefs" about parenting and sexuality.

He claims his proposal would protect people who publicly express those views from legal action, unless they are hateful, harassing or threatening.

"The shield will only be enlivened when people who hold a sincere and relevant belief in traditional marriage are attacked," Mr Hastie, who will abstain from voting on the bill, told parliament on Tuesday night.

"It is not a sword to be wielded in the service of bigotry."

He will also seek to prevent charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations from being delicensed or defunded because of their beliefs, and allow parents to take their children out of classes that don't line with their beliefs.

Several coalition MPs told parliament on Tuesday they will either back or at least consider amendments - including Craig Kelly, Lucy Wicks, Luke Hartsuyker, Greg Hunt, Scott Buccholz, Christian Porter, Ted O'Brien, Dan Tehan, Ian Goodenough and Chris Crewther - but the numbers are unlikely to be sufficient.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne joined Labor and others in declaring his opposition to all amendments to Senator Dean Smith's bill.

Mr Pyne, a same-sex marriage supporter, branded various amendments as "unnecessary" and "superfluous", satisfied the bill had enough protections.

It puts him at odds with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who told parliament he will support exemptions for civil celebrants.

Labor has warned that changing the bill accepted by the Senate last week would likely doom its passage through parliament.

More than 40 MPs are still expected to speak on the legislation, despite a marathon 12-hour sitting lasting until midnight on Tuesday.

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