The bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia has passed the Senate, but with a sitting week cancelled in the House of Representatives MPs will not continue debate until next week.
Senators passed the bill 43-12 on Wednesday, after rejecting proposed amendments by conservative lawmakers.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman Alex Greenwich was expecting low-key celebrations on Wednesday night after the bill cleared its first hurdle. The outcome was met by cheers and applause in the senate, with politicians who supported the legislation rising to their feet to embrace and congratulate one another. The bill will then be debated in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Repeating a concern that he voiced several times during the senate debate, Senator Abetz said that Senator Smith's bill went further than most Australians realised because it would also allow transgender and intersex people to Wednesday.
When Malcolm Turnbull took the prime ministership from his conservative predecessor, Tony Abbott, in September 2015, he retained the Coalition's commitment to hold a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage before changing the law.
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Penny Wong, Labor's leader in the Senate, said it was an historic day for all Australians. "Your love is not lesser, and nor are you", she added. "It says - you are one of us". Smith, who is gay, said his vote would have been a "No" three years ago.
In his speech Smith - the first openly gay federal parliamentarian in Liberal party history - credited the death of gay man Tori Johnson in the Lindt cafe siege for changing his views on same-sex marriage.
"I think the failure to fully protect celebrants who have a conscientious or may have a conscientious or non-religious objection to solemnising a same-sex marriage is a missed opportunity for our parliament to unify", he said.
Smith thanked colleagues for a respectful debate which he said showed the "soul" of Brandis, the "lived experience" of Wong, Louise Pratt and Janet Rice, and the "conscience" of opponents of same-sex marriage. "You are just you", he said on Tuesday.
Senator Matt Canavan said he was "sceptical that we could trust the political process" to enshrine religious freedoms.