In survey, voters back same-sex marriage
Australians voted overwhelmingly in favor of same-sex marriage in a national survey, paving the way for legislation to make the country the 26th nation to formalize the unions and sparking colorful celebrations on Wednesday.
Thousands of people in a central Sydney park , some wearing wedding dresses and sequined suits, broke into a loud cheer, hugged and cried as Australia’s chief statistician revealed live over a big screen that 61.6 percent of voters favored marriage equality, with 38.4 percent against.
The voluntary poll is nonbinding, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull immediately said he would fulfill a pledge to put a proposal to Parliament to pass laws on marriage equality by the end of the year.
“It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming. They have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality,” he told reporters in the capital, Canberra.
The result marks a watershed moment for gay rights in Australia, where it was illegal in some states to engage in homosexual activity until 1997. Almost 80 percent of the country’s 16 million eligible voters took part in the survey.