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No break for Australian Parliament until equal marriage is passed

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The Australian Parliament will sit for “as long as it takes” to pass an equal marriage bill, the government has said.

The country is attempting to heal divisions after a divisive public vote on whether same-sex marriage should be legal.

The public gave their resounding backing to equality in the vote, with 61.60% voting Yes and 38.40% voting No.

As the vote was purely advisory, the issue will now head to the country’s Parliament – where lawmakers are still divided on the best way to proceed on the issue.

Hardline conservatives inside Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government have backed amendments to ensure the law enshrines the ‘freedom to discriminate’ against same-sex couples for people who disagree with equal marriage, while LGBT allies favour a ‘clean’ marriage bill that does not undermine existing rights protections.

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The government confirmed today that the House of Representatives will return on December 4 – a week later than planned – giving the Senate time to finish its debate on the marriage bill. The bill will then be debated non-stop by the House.

In a statement, government minister Christopher Pyne said: “The Australian people expect their parliament to respect the clear mandate of the marriage survey and legislate for marriage equality before the end of the year.

“Members should be prepared for the House to sit for some or all of the second week beginning 11 December or as long as it takes legislate for marriage equality and resolve all citizenship issues.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “Parliament absolutely can and I’m very confident it will, and my priority and the government’s priority is to recognise the will of the people is that we should get this done, and that’s what we’re going to be doing everything we can to achieve it before Christmas.

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