Australians vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage

Australia’s parliament will vote later this month on whether to legalise same-sex marriage. Credit: PA

Australia has voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. The postal survey delivered an overwhelming victory of 61.6% to 38.4%, with 16 million registered voters out of the country’s 24 million population asking for the prohibition to be overturned.

Although the vote is non-binding, the turnout of 79.5% is bigger than the Brexit vote and the US presidential election.

Australia’s parliament will vote later this month on whether to legalise same-sex marriage.

Some 7,817,247 people cast ballots saying yes, with 4,873,987 saying no.

All six states carried the yes vote, with 64.9% in Victoria, 57.8% in New South Wales, 60.6% in the Northern Territory and 74% in Australian Capital Territory.

People celebrate after watching the same sex marriage vote result announcement. Credit: PA

"Australians have voted yes for fairness, they have voted yes for commitment, they have voted yes for love," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

"Now it's up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the people have asked us to do and get it done this year, before Christmas. That must be our commitment.

"We asked the Australian people for their view. This was an unprecedented exercise in democracy, a voluntary survey in which 80% participated and over 61%, 61.6%, have said yes.

"That's an overwhelming participation rate and an overwhelming yes vote. I know that many people - a minority obviously - voted no. But we are a fair nation - there's nothing more Australian than a fair go, than equality, than mutual respect."

Christine Forster, the sister of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, celebrates after watching the same sex marriage vote result. Credit: PA

Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who backed the No campaign, said: "The decision by the Australian people reflected in the postal survey is a decision that I regret but respect.

"Changing a fundamental societal institution that pre-existed the nation-state is something which should rightly be decided by the people as a whole and it has been with a very strong turnout despite claims from many quarters that this process would fail.

"While disappointed by the result, I am heartened by the strong 'no' vote in the face of such a relentless campaign from the 'yes' campaign by the media, political elites and celebrities.

"The voices of the millions of 'no' voters deserve to be recognised in the framing of any legislation.

"A hubristic winner-takes-all approach in this matter would ignore the will of millions of Australians who have concerns about changing marriage."