Powerful photos show Australians celebrating the moment same-sex marriage finally passed

On Thursday, Australia voted to become the 25th country with marriage equality when the Australian House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The legislation passed with a clear majority and only four votes against it, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The Australian Senate had approved it the week before, by a vote of 43 to 12. Supporters of same-sex marriage in Australia gathered to watch the final approval of the bill on Thursday, some breaking into cheers and celebrations the moment the measure passed.

According to the Times, observers watching the vote from the public gallery broke out into the song “I am Australian,” and some lawmakers got teary-eyed as they looked up at the gallery.

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Australians celebrate passing of same-sex marriage law
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Australians celebrate passing of same-sex marriage law
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Alice Bennett and her partner Miranda Hill kiss as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
North Sydney federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman celebrates with the rainbow flag after parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in the Federal Parliament in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Labor Member of Parliament Linda Burney celebrates as the Australian Parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A man celebrates after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate as a crowd gathers to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Tracy Clark and her partner Justyna Greinart embrace as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A group of women react as they gather with a crowd of people to watch a large television screen at Federation Square as it is announced that same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia with Parliament agreeing to change the Marriage Act and end the ban on gay and lesbian couples marrying on December 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: A pedestrian walks past a graffiti celebtating same sex marriage on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: People celebrate after the passing of the gay marriage bill on December 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Magda Szubanski speaks to the media and celebrates the passing of the marriage equality bill on December 7, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. The historic bill was passed on the final day of parliamentart sitting for 2017. The legislation means same-sex couples will now be able to be legally married in Australia. Australians voted 'Yes' in the Marriage Law Postal Survey for the law to be changed in November. (Photo by Michael Masters/Getty Images)
Liberal MP Warren Entsch (L) celebrates with Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe after parliament passed the same-sex marriage bill in the Federal Parliament in Canberra on December 7, 2017. Gay couples will be able to legally marry in Australia after a same-sex marriage bill sailed through parliament on December 7, ending decades of political wrangling. / AFP PHOTO / SEAN DAVEY (Photo credit should read SEAN DAVEY/AFP/Getty Images)
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The legislation followed a national postal survey over the question of whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage. The results of the survey were clear — 61.6% of the more than 12 million respondents voted “yes” and only 38.4% voted “no.”

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a supporter of same-sex marriage, said on Thursday that, “This belongs to us all. ... This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day,” the Times reported.

The passing of same-sex marriage is the result of a long national fight. As the Times reported, since 2004, there have been 22 unsuccessful efforts in Parliament to pass a same-sex marriage bill.

The new law will change the definition of marriage in Australia from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people,” the Times reported, and it will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married overseas.

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global, cheered on the vote, saying, “We welcome Australia into the growing family of freedom-loving nations that ensure marriage equality for all couples. ... The overwhelming support for marriage equality down under is a testament to the hard work of Australia’s LGBTQ advocates and allies who fought tirelessly to make today a reality. We congratulate them on this incredibly important victory.”

Same-sex marriage will officially be legal as soon as the bill receives royal assent from the governor general later in December, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith, an out gay politician who authored the bill, said on Thursday that the victory was “owned by everyone, it is owned by the Australian people,” the Guardian reported.

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