Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hailed Australia’s ‘overwhelming victory’ for marriage equality.
More than 61% of people voted in favor of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry, while 38.4% voted against.
The votes were read out by Australia Statistician, David W. Kalisch, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS was put in charge of running the AU$122 million (US$93 million) postal survey when it was announced in September.
Turnbull issued a statement celebrating the majority vote for equality.
He said: ‘They voted “yes” for fairness. They voted “yes” for commitment. They voted “yes” for love. Now it is up to us, here in the Parliament of Australia, to get on with it’.
While the Prime Minister did not guarantee same-sex marriage would be legalized before Christmas, senior figures in government said it was ‘unthinkable’ Parliament could rise without the law being passed.
There are only two more weeks of Parliament scheduled. Many fear conservatives will amend the bill to provide religious exemptions for businesses and registrars.
Celebrations across the world
Many celebrities, including Kylie Minogue and Sia, have hailed the ‘yes’ vote.
Tiernan Brady, director of the Equality Campaign, said he ‘never thought that winning was about beating people’.
“Victory cannot be making someone else feel excluded,” he said.
He warned politicians Australians had voted for equality ‘with the loudest possible voice’ and the final bill could not be allowed to unwind anti-discrimination laws.
‘That’s not what Australia voted for,’ he said.
What comes next?
The fight for marriage equality has raged for 13 years in Australia. In 2004, then Prime Minister, John Howard, amended the Marriage Act to read that ‘marriage was between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others’.
Today’s results do not mean the fight for marriage equality is over. The parliament still needs to legislate on the issue, with a number of potential bills making the rounds.
Read our full breakdown of what comes next here.