Watch: 'I am, you are, we are Australian' - MPs spontaneously break into song after legalising same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples will be able to marry from early January once the governor- general signs off on new marriage equality laws.

Sir Peter Cosgrove will give the laws royal assent on this morning when he is visited by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra.

Before that an elated Mr Turnbull has been encouraging his fellow Australians to start making wedding preparations.

"It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying we love and respect you, now go out there and get married," he told the Seven Network.

Mr Turnbull described the postal survey as a game-changer for the issue, now resolved after years of debate.

He criticised Labor for not progressing the matter when in office but said the victory now belongs to the whole parliament.

The passage of the laws would not put religious freedoms at risk or traditional marriage, he insisted.

"People that think gay people making a commitment is is a threat to her marriage fails to realise that the real threat is lack of commitment," Mr Turnbull said.

The new laws cleared parliament unchanged yesterday evening after a marathon debate lasting 56 hours and despite a push from conservative MPs for additional religious protections.

Only four MPs in the House of Representatives voted against the private bill, a week after the legislation was agreed to by the Senate.

Mps broke into song after same-sex marriage was legalised, singning, "We are one, but we are many and from all the lands on earth we come. We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice. I am, you are, we are Australian."

Labor leader Bill Shorten said the new law spoke for a modern, "inclusive and fair" Australia.

Same-sex couples will be able to lodge formal intentions to wed from tomorrow allowing them to marry from January 9.

Gay couples who tied the knot overseas will have their unions officially recognised as soon as the laws gain royal assent.


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Watch: US TV anchor calls out viewer who emailed vulgar racist slur

A US news anchor has taken the time to confront a viewer live on air who sent in a racially abusive email that included an ugly slur . 

While discussing how shifting racial demographics of Atlanta played a part in the recent Georgia city mayoral election, news anchor Sharon Reed stopped the live programme to discuss the email that had been sent in from viewer Kathy Rae. 

Before the email was shown on screen, Ms Reed said, "a woman by the name of Kathy Rae emailed me. We're going to put that email on the screen and then I'll comment after it.

"I think it's fair for people to see what she wrote.

The email read, "you need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight. It’s o.k. for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites. Really??? you are what I call a N****not a black person. you are a racist N****. you are what’s wrong with the world.

"You are a racist N*****. You what's wrong with the world."

Responding to the email, staring directly down the camera, Ms Reed said "quite the contrary, we think that race is an authentic discussion to have."

"It's one we’re having tonight because it's one that you are talking about at home and it's one that has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor's race. That's why, behind the scenes, my colleagues and I — white and black — we decided, hey let's go for it."

"When arguing with somebody you have to be careful not to mischaracterise their viewpoint, so I won't mischaracterise your view either, Kathy Rae. I get it.

"On December 5, 2017, you think it's okay to call this journalist a 'n*****.' I don't. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead I'll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves. And that will be the last word."

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Scientists call on US to allow research on cannabis meds for pets

Dr Byron Maas surveys a supply of marijuana products for dogs that lines a shelf in his veterinary clinic. They're selling well.

"The 'Up and Moving' is for joints and for pain," he explains. "The 'Calm and Quiet' is for real anxious dogs, to take away that anxiety."

People anxious to relieve suffering in their pets are increasingly turning to oils and powders that contain CBDs, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana.

But there's little data on whether they work, or if they have harmful side effects.

That's because Washington has been standing in the way of clinical trials, veterinarians and researchers say. Now, a push is underway to have barriers removed, so both pets and people can benefit.

Those barriers have had more than just a chilling effect.

When the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced last year that even marijuana extracts with CBD and little or no THC - marijuana's intoxicating component - are an illegal Schedule 1 drug, the University of Pennsylvania halted its clinical trials. Colorado State University is pushing ahead.

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned companies that sell marijuana products online and via pet shops and animal hospitals that they're violating laws by offering "unapproved new animal drugs." The FDA threatened legal action.

But, seeing potential benefits of CBDs, the American Veterinary Medical Association's policy-making body said last summer it wants the DEA to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug "to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses."

It asked the board of the national veterinarians' organisation to investigate working with other stakeholders toward that goal. The board is awaiting a recommendation from two group councils.

"The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional," Board Chairman Michael Whitehair said in a telephone interview. "This is an important reason for us to continue the research."

medical marijuana concept
Medical cannabis. Source: istock.com