Barnaby Joyce confirms he’s separated from wife as same-sex marriage goes to vote

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has backed the traditional definition of marriage in his second day back in parliament, but says he doesn't “come to this debate pretending to be a saint”.

As the same-sex marriage debate rages on across the floor, Mr Joyce confirmed he has separated from his wife.

“The current definition of marriage has stood the test of time – half of them fail, I acknowledge that,” he said.

“I’ll acknowledge that I'm currently separated so that's on the record. I don’t come to this debate pretending to be a saint.”

Mr Joyce, who likes the traditional definition of marriage, says “it is a special relational between a man and a woman for the purposes, if you're so lucky, for bringing children into the world”.

Mr Joyce said he accepted the result of the survey but says "absolute victory is absolute tyranny".

In his seat of New England, 52.5 per cent – or 44,608 people – voted in favour of same-sex marriage, while 47.5 per cent or 40,3324 people, voted against it.

More than 85,000 people (76.9 per cent) of the electorate took part in the vote, while 25,581 (23.1 per cent) did not return their survey.

The parliament is on the verge of legalising same-sex marriage, pending the various amendments currently being put forward, aimed at protecting religious groups.

More to come.