Australia has taken a decisive step towards legislating marriage equality by Christmas after 61.6% of voters in an unprecedented national postal survey approved a change to the law to allow couples of the same sex to marry.
Despite some early criticisms that the use of the postal system would make the survey inaccessible, an overwhelming 79.5 per cent of Australian voters did participate, in what the Chief Statistician called an "outstanding" turnout.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told 2Day FM he was offended by such posters while defending the vast majority of people who do not agree with same-sex marriage, as not homophobic.
Parliamentary opponents of same-sex marriage such as Matt Canavan and Cory Bernardi are standing firm.
Australia has said yes to same-sex marriage.
Australia has voted "Yes" to same-sex marriage.
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Australians have voted in support of same-sex marriage, paving the way for parliament to legalize gay unions before the end of the year. Coalition parliamentarians, who were previously required to vote against marriage equality will now be given a free vote, Labor MPs are nearly universally in favour and a majority of crossbenchers will also support the bill. "One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility", he told Sky News.
Mr Turnbull's decision to use a private member's bill means there could be multiple bills put to the parliament, rather than a unified government proposal. The outcome will boost marriage equality campaigners in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Labor's Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, the Greens' Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice, Skye Kakoschke-Moore from the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch all signed the motion with Smith.
But because it was a survey, not a referendum, the results have no immediate effect. They didn't vote to license more discrimination and that is what the Paterson bill does'.
However, the vote itself is only indicative - meaning politicians are free to come to whatever conclusions they like, whether that accounts for the vote or not.
"The simple message now is: pass the law", said Tiernan Brady, leader of the Marriage Equality campaign.
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