In sur­vey, vot­ers back same-sex mar­riage

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD -

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.

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