The approval on Wednesday by the British Parliament to legalise gay marriage caused a stir in social networking sites as ordinary Britons and other nationalities expressed their agreement or opposition to the law.
Parliament passed the bill on second reading at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday (Australian time) with 400 "ayes" and 175 "nays."
With good chances that the bill will pass the House of Commons due to strong support from Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs, the number of countries that recognises same-sex marriage would rise to 12.
Since 2000, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden have recognised gay marriages, while parts of Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. have done the same.
Australia's Parliament thumbed down a similar measure in late 2012, although there are pending bills in state parliaments of the same nature. There are speculations that Britain's example may spur Australian MPs to reconsider their position on the issue.
There are thousands of gay couples in Britain and Australia, and a number of them are celebrities who may benefit from the legalisation of their civil union or relationship.
Here are five such couples.
1. Elton John and David Furnish
This civilly wed couple recently showed to media their second son, Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John who was born on Jan 11, 2013. Elijah and elder brother Zachary were born to the same California-based surrogate mother. Furnish, 50, is Canadian/British filmmaker known for his documentary about Elton John.
2. Darren Hayes and Richard Cullen
Cullen is a British animator, designer and director. He entered into a civil partnership in 2006 with British singer Darren Hayes from the duo Savage Garden. Cullen was the designer for the cover of Hayes's single, So Beautiful.
3. Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell
Callea is the runner-up in the 2004 season of Australian Idol. His rendition of The Prayer held the top spot on the ARIA Singles Chart for five weeks. He came out in March 2007 to end speculations about his sexuality and confirmed in February 2008 that he is in a relationship with actor/singer Tim Campbell, best known for his portrayal of the character Dan Baker in the soap opera Home and Away.
4. Allan Cumming and Grant Shaffer
Cumming is a Scottish stage, TV and film actor and has appeared in London and Broadway stages. He entered into a civil partnership with Shaffer, a graphic artist, in 2007 at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London. The couple remarried in New York in 2012 to mark the fifth anniversary of their London union.
5. Penny Wong and Sophie Allouache
Wong, although not in show business, is a celebrity in her own right, being an MP and the current Minister for Finance and Deregulation. She is also the first Asian-born federal minister and first openly lesbian MP member of the Julia Gillard cabinet. Her partner is Sophie Allouache, a public servant. Allouache gave birth in August 2011 to their first children, Alexandra, through an IVF-assisted pregnancy using donor sperm.