Liberal senator Dean Smith has broken down in the Senate during an emotional speech while introducing a same-sex marriage bill following the 'yes' vote.
The senator was embraced by politicians from all sides on Thursday after he fought back tears while saying he never believed his relationship would have equal recognition.
"As a young man I never believed I could serve as a senior advisor to a prime minister or a premier because i was a gay man," he told the Senate.
"I never believed the day would come when my relationship would be judged by my country to be as meaningful and valued as any other.
"The Australian people have proven me wrong."
Australians returned a resounding yes vote to the government's marriage equality survey, with 61.6 per cent of people supporting a law change.
"It wasn't just a vote of acceptance, it was that deep loving embrace of a big family," Senator Smith said.
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Senator Smith's bill was introduced to the upper house on Wednesday with cross-party support.
Alternative legislation, which would have allowed businesses to refuse to provide services for gay weddings on religious grounds, was abandoned.
He said amendments which wound back freedoms for gay and lesbian Australians would be "strenuously opposed".
Labor senate leader Penny Wong said she first felt the power of prejudice when she moved to Australia from Malaysia as an eight-year-old.
"It is from this experience that I am driven to remove discrimination and embed equality," Senator Wong said.
She finished her speech with a heartfelt tribute to her partner, Sophie, and their two daughters.
"Hannah and Alexandra, I work for and fight for the world I want for you," Senator Wong said.