Australian state of ACT (Australian Capital Territory) today voted for equal marriage, despite a threat by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to go to the High Court in the hope of overturning the law.

The vote, which was passed by nine votes to eight, has legalised marriage for same-sex couples and should come into effect in 30 days from receiving the signature of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

As a large continent of supporters watched from the public gallery, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said she was sorry a federal threat hung over this bill, but she would not put off the joy of people’s weddings. Following the passage of the law, the public gallery stood and broke out in rendition of Love is in the Air, followed by raucous applause.

Despite the Legislative Assembly introducing changes to help ensure against a High Court challenge, over 20,000 people have signed a petition asking Tony Abbott not to launch his challenge. It also calls for politicians across Australia to support marriage equality in their jurisdictions.

Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out, which organised the petition, said: ‘Australians are clearly ready for loving and committed same sex couples to be allowed to marry. The government should not stand in their way.’