THERE'S already been one proposal on the floor of parliament but couples celebrating the passing of the same-sex marriage bill won't be able to walk down the aisle straight away.

While the Australian Parliament has passed the same-sex marriage bill, there are still a number of steps that must be completed before couples will be able to wed.

WHEN DOES IT BECOME LEGAL?

The bill becomes law once it is given Royal Assent, which happens when the Governor-General signs it.

This usually happens between seven and 10 working days after parliament approves it.

A spokesman for the Governor-General has confirmed to news.com.au that he will be in Canberra over the next fortnight and will be available to sign the bill once it is printed and sent to him.

IT MAY NOT TAKE EFFECT STRAIGHT AWAY

Some laws change immediately once the Governor-General signs it but the same-sex marriage bill has a provision that commencement will be on "a single day to be fixed by proclamation" or 28 days after Royal Assent. Attorney George Brandis announced this afternoon that date will be Saturday, December 9. 

Once it takes effect, marriages that have taken place overseas will also be recognised in Australia.

Another change that will take effect 12 months later will make it discriminatory for states and territories to stop people from changing their gender on official documentation. Previously government authorities could refuse to change the gender on someone's birth certificate or other documentation if they were already married and the change would result in them being married to someone of the same sex.

ONE LAST THING ... YOU MUST GIVE NOTICE

Even if same-sex marriage is legal before Christmas, couples won't be able to marry straight away.

Any couple wanting to marry in Australia needs to give at least one month's notice.

They do this by filling in a Notice of Intended Marriage and giving it to a celebrant. For same-sex couples, this will only be able to be done once same-sex marriage becomes legal.

"The date from which same-sex weddings could occur in Australia will depend on the date the Australian law is changed to allow same-sex marriage," information on the Attorney-General's Department website states.

 

Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger during a speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2017 at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith
Liberal MP Tim Wilson proposed to his partner Ryan Bolger during a speech on the Marriage Amendment Bill 2017 at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith


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