Labor senator Penny Wong says the Paterson bill is "an attempt by those who have opposed equality at every step of the way to frustrate it further".
Senator Wong says the vote has been "not just about lesbian and gay couples, not just about the LGBTI community - although it is about us - it is about the sort of nation we are. And it will be a very important statement about the identity of the nation, the values of the nation, and that's why these are such high stakes".
"And I wish we weren't here, I wish this could have been dealt with better by the Parliament, but we are where we are and I'm hopeful for an outcome that reflects the goodwill of the Australian people today."
Also read: Labor to win in Queensland: Newspoll