Government lawmaker Trevor Evans ruled out an Australian equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court case in which a baker who refused to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple argued he was exercising artistic freedom and was exempt from Colorado anti-discrimination laws.
"Let's be honest here, for a case like that to arise in Australia, it would require a gay couple who care more about activism than about the success of their own wedding, to find a business operator who cares more about religious doctrine than the commercial success of their own small business, and for both of them to commit to having a fight," Evans told Parliament.
"Typical Australians would genuinely question the bona fides of the players in a case like that and the slim prospects of that occurring doesn't warrant the pages and pages of commentary and debate that have been dedicated to it," he added.
Several gay marriage opponents in Turnbull's conservative coalition have regarded marriage equality as inevitable and have welcomed an end to an issue that has long divided the government ranks.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, a same-sex marriage opponent who oversaw the postal ballot, said he felt "great satisfaction" that the issue was resolved.
"It was a polarizing issue on which good Australians had strongly and sincerely held views on both sides of the argument," Cormann said.
"I and my colleagues on the coalition side always took the view that the best way to resolve a disagreement in the community like this is by giving the Australian people which we did, we kept faith with it, the Australian people embraced the process and the result was emphatic," he said.
The result is a political win for Turnbull, who became prime minister after deposing Abbott in 2015 in an internal government leadership ballot.
Abbott was head-butted by a gay rights advocate during the postal survey campaign in September. Kevin Rudd, a center-left Labor Party prime minister whom Abbott defeated in elections in 2013, blamed the postal ballot for an assault on his godson Sean Foster, 19, as he campaigned for marriage equality a week earlier.
Veteran gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome said he expected the first same-sex weddings in Australia would not take place until February.
The law will likely take effect after a month. State laws then require couples to give 28 days' notice of their intention to marry, Croome said.