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Watch the historic moment same-sex marriage moved a step closer

Applause broke out in the Seanad as the Marriage Bill passed all stages today

Updated 3.57pm 

SUSTAINED APPLAUSE BROKE out in the Seanad this afternoon as the bill giving effect to May’s same-sex marriage referendum was passed.

The Marriage Bill 2015 passed its final stages in the upper house just before 3pm.

The bill will now go to the President to be signed into law before it is formally commenced by ministerial order in the coming weeks. 

It’s anticipated that the first same-sex marriages can take place as early as next month.

The chamber broke into applause with Health Minister Leo Varadkar and government backbench TDs John Lyons, and Jerry Buttimer watching on from the press gallery.

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen noted afterwards that he had not agreed to the bill’s passage. Seanad chair Jillian van Turnhout said she did not hear him.

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President Micheal D Higgins will sign the bill into law next week. It will then have to be formally commenced by ministerial order.

Following the passage of the bill, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald told the Seanad that there will be same-sex weddings by Christmas.

Senator David Norris said the passage of the bill marks the end of a 46-year-long journey for gay rights, noting: “It was starting to get boring.”

Another prominent Yes campaigner, senator Katherine Zappone, thanked the “beautiful people, equality champions” in the public gallery.

Fianna Fáil senator Jim Walsh, who opposed the referendum, said: “If I said I welcomed the decision I’d be a hypocrite. I don’t.”

Outside on the Leinster House plinth, there was huge excitement among campaigners and politicians as Fitzgerald and Burton briefly addressed the media.

http://vine.co/v/eVMUT2muqWP

Burton said it was “a day of a lot of emotion, but also a day of great political achievement”.

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