Australia same-sex marriage bill passes Senate hurdle

Australia same-sex marriage bill passes Senate hurdle

Liberal senator Zed Seselja is spearheading a conservative push to add amendments to a cross-party bill the upper house is considering this week.

"So many of us fought for so long and so hard to awaken the Australian people to the injustice that had been done in their name - to educate them about the importance of this reform - not just for LGBTI people but for the nation".

'A few brief moments of joy is what our country has ached for because we know it will result in a lifetime of joy for so many others'.

Penny Wong and Dean Smith embrace after the bill was passed 43-12. (AAP) Senator Smith's bill was massed without any major amendments.

Proposed amendments to the bill that were voted down included creating two definitions of marriage for people to choose from (between "man and a woman" and between "two people"), as well as protections to civil celebrants refusing to marry same-sex couples.

Dean Smith, who put the bill in motion, said the bill was not "the triumph of one group over another, but the advancement of freedoms for all of us".

"Your love is not lesser, and nor are you. It says - you are one of us".

For the quietly spoken Tasmanian, this dogged pursuit of same-sex marriage made the overwhelming "yes" vote in the postal survey and Wednesday's resounding Senate vote all the more satisfying.

"Today I am so proud of my country" Senator Di Natale said.

Last night, six Coalition senators joined Labor and the Greens to scuttle changes to the bill - despite the majority of Coalition senators supporting the amendments to broaden religious protections.

"This right to freedom of religion must be balanced against the other fundamental human rights that are reflected in this covenant", Senator McAllister said.

Cory Bernardi, in the Senate today, has been a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage. Labor, Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch supported the bill, which was also was co-signed by two Liberal senators, according to The Guardian.

A number of moderate Coalition senators voted against those amendments.

"It's a conscience vote - people are free to vote where they like", he said.

Parliament will extend sittings for the year until it has passed.

Attorney General George Brandis said the passing of the bill would send a message to vulnerable young people that there was nothing wrong with them.

"Mr Ruddock is going to report back in March", he said.

The bill will then be debated in the House of Representatives on Monday.

On Wednesday the education minister, Simon Birmingham, said Turnbull had demonstrated "very strong leadership" by "showing a pathway through" and delivering marriage equality.

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