Aussies approve same-sex marriage
AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants federal parliament to approve same-sex marriage laws before Christmas after Australians delivered their ‘‘unequivocal’’ approval in a voluntary postal survey.
‘‘It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done,’’ Turnbull said yesterday, shortly after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced a 61.6 per cent ‘‘yes’’ vote.
‘‘I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people. We asked them for their opinion, and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming.’’
A majority ‘‘yes’’ vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 federal electorates across the country. Every state and territory recorded a majority ‘‘yes’’ result except for New South Wales, which returned less than 60 per cent approval.
More than 12.7 million people nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters - took part in the survey. Of those, 7.8 million voted yes and 4.9 million said no.
Parliamentary debate to legalise same-sex marriage could begin as early as today. Draft laws were introduced to parliament yesterday, with a group of cross-party senators supporting Liberal senator Dean Smith’s bill.
Tears of joy flowed at Prince Alfred Park in central Sydney as thousands of equality supporters learned the result of the postal vote. Singer John Paul Young launched into his hit Love Is In The Air as couples kissed and friends embraced.
Equality Campaign organiser Alex Greenwich told the crowd it had just experienced a huge moment in history. ‘‘We will reflect on this day as a day that has truly made our country proud.’’
In Melbourne, a crowd of thousands who packed the lawns outside the State Library erupted with screams of joy as champagne corks exploded into the sky.
Labor Party leader Bill Shorten addressed the crowd. He said ‘‘unconditional love always has the last word’’, and apologised to the community for having to endure the postal survey.
Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside the State Library in Melbourne after the result of the postal survey - a 61.6 per cent ‘‘yes’’ vote - is announced. Australia’s federal parliament is set to debate a law change.