Same-sex marriage in Australia could be legalised within days, legal experts have said, after the Senate voted in favour of the bill 43 to 12 on Wednesday.
The legislation comes after 62% of the public supported the move in a controversial non-binding postal survey.
A bill by Liberal Senator Dean Smith, that contains exemptions allowing religious ministers and current civil celebrants to opt out of officiating same-sex wedding ceremonies, will next week progress to the House of Representatives.
“We can expect to see some debate in House of Representatives and that may involve the proposing of amendments and quite a number of votes,” Ryan Goss, senior lecturer at Australian National University’s College of Law, told News.com.au.
“But the vote in the Senate shows a reasonable degree of cross party support for the bill proposed by Dean Smith in the form that it currently stands. If that cross party support is shared in the Reps then we could see that proposal moving fairly smoothly through the House as well.”
Following a successful vote in the House, the Governor-General then needs to give Royal Assent to the law which is usually a formality.
If parliament does introduce same-sex marriage legislation, it will become the 26th country in the world to do so.