A handful of lawmakers tried to add amendments that they said were meant to safeguard religious freedoms for opponents of same-sex marriage, but their efforts failed. Mr. Turnbull noted that nothing in the legislation requires ministers or other celebrants to oversee weddings of gay couples or threatens the charity status of religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage, two concerns the lawmakers had raised.
The final debate in the House of Representatives, which lasted four days, featured more than 100 speakers.
On the first day, there was a marriage proposal: Tim Wilson, a gay member of Parliament with the center-right Liberal Party, spoke of the struggles he and his partner, Ryan Bolger, had encountered as a couple, before choking up, finding him in the public gallery and asking: “Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The answer came loud and clear — “yes” — as did public congratulations from the deputy speaker, Rob Mitchell.
That was followed by hours of emotional speeches, as politicians on the left and right fell into a rare moment of relative consensus and embraced public sentiment, which has favored same-sex marriage for years, according to polls.
Even former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch critic of same-sex marriage, seemed to have softened.
“When it comes to same-sex marriage, some countries have introduced it via the courts, some via Parliament, and others — Ireland and now Australia — by vote of the people,” Mr. Abbott said. “And that is the best way because it resolves this matter beyond doubt or quibble.”
For many lawmakers and gay-rights advocates working behind the scenes, the debate took on the feel of a communal reckoning with Australia’s long history of homophobia.
At one point, Adam Bandt, a Greens Party lawmaker from Melbourne, paused for a moment of silence after referring to the “innocent blood” of gay Australians who were hurt during the long battle for…