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First same-sex marriage ceremonies held across Australia

Staff Writer |
At the stroke of midnight and in the early hours of morning, dozens of same-sex couples exchanged wedding vows across Australia as laws making the nation the 26th in the world to legalise gay marriage took effect.

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Australian's parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage in December after a nationwide postal survey returned an overwhelming majority in favour of the unions.

The survey result prompted relief, then celebration among campaigners who had for decades pushed for change, and later cheers and singing on the floor of parliament when the law passed.

Some Australian states ruled homosexual acts to be illegal until just 20 years ago.

Several same-sex couples already wed in December after the notice period was waived for reasons such as one member of the couple falling gravely ill, or to allow a legal wedding to go ahead when a non-binding ceremony was already planned.

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