The majority of Australians have voted yes to gay marriage in a historic non-binding postal survey, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announce on Wednesday. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to uphold the result and is already committed to making sure that Parliament passes measures to legalize by Christmas.
“The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly ‘yes’ for marriage equality,” Turnbull said and he added “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘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,”
12.7 million Australians which accounts for 75.5 percent of the electorate, participated in the government sponsored survey, 61.6 percent voted yes while 38.4 percent voted no. Celebrations erupted in different cities through the nation when the results were announced and some celebrities shared their reaction on social media.
Five time Australian Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe who is also gay tweeted out a simple " Thank you, Australia".
Thank you, Australia #yes— Ian Thorpe (@IanThorpe) November 14, 2017
Australian pop icon Kylie Minogue wrote "Love is love, always was love, always will be love"
Australian singer-songwriter Sia, tweeted a picture of a rainbow heart and wrote "The Australian people have spoken loud and clear #loveislove ".
The Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar and Apple CEO Tim Cook who are both gay also tweeted out their congratulations to Australia.
Congrats to Australia on a resounding #voteyes for marriage equality. As ever Australians are willing to give everyone a fair go.— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) November 15, 2017
Congratulations Australia! Another important step toward equality for all. ???????? #MarriageEquality— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) November 15, 2017
The overwhelming result sends a strong signal for Parliament to act and gives the Prime Minister a strong mandate to move forward with a bill, even if the survey has no legal implication.
Draft gay marriage laws were introduced to the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon by Australian Senator Dean Smith. It already has strong cross-party support and opponents of gay marriage are showing signs that they may choose to abstain rather than vote against the bill, like former Prime Minister Tony Abbot whose constituency overwhelmingly voted for marriage equality.
"I am not going to vote against this. I'm not going to frustrate the will of the public," he said "There will be no filibustering, no clever parliamentary tactics, there will just be an attempt to make this the best possible bill so no one is discriminated against," he pointed out, referring to protections that will be placed on the bill so that religious ministers will not be forced to conduct gay marriage based on their faith when and if gay marriage is passed.
The Senate is expected to tackle the bill next week and then pass it to the lower house. The cross-party supporters in Parliament already have the numbers to legislate so there is a good chance that they could pass a law on the Prime Minister's Christmas timeline.