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Australians vote ‘Yes’ on same-sex marriage

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Thousands celebrate Australia’s support for same-sex marriage
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Thousands celebrate Australia’s support for same-sex marriage
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Thousands celebrate Australia’s support for same-sex marriage

Success for Yes campaign paves way for legalisation of marriage equality

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 6:16am

Australians have voted overwhelmingly in support of same sex marriage, with 61.6% of participants voting “Yes” on a national postal survey.

The result in the non-binding, non-compulsory postal survey paves the way for legislation to be introduced to legalise same-sex marriage, with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promising the matter would be decided before Christmas.

“They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love. And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people asked us to do and get this done,” Turnbull said.

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The ABC reports that the legislation, once introduced into parliament, will most likely pass, with 76% of MPs in the lower house indicating they will vote in favour of it, and 73% in the upper house indicating the same.

However, prominent MPs including former prime minister Tony Abbott have foreshadowed a number of amendments to a bill that has been prepared in advance, in anticipation of a Yes result.

“I look forward to a parliamentary process that improves on the Dean Smith bill to implement same sex marriage with freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches,” Abbott said in a statement, referring to conservatives’ desire to ensure businesses could not be forced by law to provide services contrary to their religious beliefs.

According to The Guardian “a turnout of 79.5% in the voluntary survey is considered a highly credible reflection of Australian opinion and gives marriage equality advocates enormous momentum to achieve the historic social reform.” Voting is usually compulsory in Australia.

The result brings an end to a sometimes heated campaign, the BBC says. “The vote itself had been criticised by same-sex marriage supporters, many of whom said it was unnecessary when parliament could debate the issue directly.”

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