Australians have said yes to same-sex marriage in a non-binding postal vote.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that Wednesday’s voluntary poll had a turnout of 79.5% (12.7 million), where 7,817,247 people voted in favour and 4,873,987 voted against same-sex couples to wed.
“Together we have achieved something truly remarkable, a win for fairness and equality, not only for the LGBTI community and our families, but for all Australians,” said Equality Campaign spokesman, Alex Greenwich.
The result will lead to a consideration of a same-sex marriage bill in Parliament with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull promising legal equality in marriage by Christmas, reports The Guardian.
“[Australians] have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality,” said Turnbull in a press conference after the result was announced, calling the people’s decision “unequivocal and overwhelming”.
“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,” he continued.
Unlike Australia’s compulsory elections, the vote for same-sex marriage was through a survey, thus voluntary.
The eight-week poll asked people one question: “Should the marriage law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”
While the Yes campaign voted for equality, the No campaign stressed on family values and how issues like gender will be taught in school.
Australia’s chief statistician David Kalisch said that out of the country’s 150 electorates, only 17 did not support changing the law, per BBC.
What happens now?
PM Turnbull has been a supporter of gay marriage and supporters in Australia’s ruling Liberal-National Party Coalition, the Labor opposition, Greens and other cross-bench parties have reached a consensus around a cross-party bill that makes minimalist changes to protect religious freedom without legalising discrimination by commercial service providers, such as cake makers, as some conservatives in the Coalition government have demanded.
Same-sex wedding was banned in Australia in 2004 by the Howard government that changed the Marriage Act to define marriage between a man and a woman.
Around the world, many countries have recognised gay marriage including, US, UK, Canada, Germany, South Africa, etc.
Australians coming forward voluntarily to vote for same-sex marriage speaks volumes of the country’s progressive worldview and democracy’s power to impel a change.
The Logical Indian community welcomes the decision and hopes that in India too, similar steps of equality are undertaken.