Australians vote ‘yes’ for same sex marriage
Over 1500 jubilant marriage equality supporters burst in celebration at Sydney’s Alfred Park on Wednesday morning at the announcement of the postal survey results in favour of same sex marriage.
Chief statistician David Kalisch announced 61.6 per cent of eligible Australians voted ‘Yes’ to legalising same-sex marriage in the recent postal survey.
While participation in the survey was on a voluntary basis, a whopping 79 per cent of eligible Australians casted their vote – almost 13 million Australians.
Kalisch said, “This is outstanding for a voluntary survey and well above other voluntary surveys conducted around the word.” The postal survey has had a better turnout rate than both the 2016 US presidential elections (55.5%) and Brexit referendum (72%).
The breakdown of votes per state. Source: ABS
“Get on with it”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed reporters in Canberra on Wednesday morning saying the result was an “overwhelming” endorsement of marriage equality.
“They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love,” Turnbull said.
He added, “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 have tasked asked to do and get this done. This year, before Christmas – that must be our commitment.”
Despite the overwhelming support from the Australian public for same sex couples to marry, the postal vote is non-binding. This means that parliament still needs to discuss the proposed bills and adopt legislation before same sex marriage can be legalised.
Parliament will be discussing a bill drafted by WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith from tomorrow.
Senator Smith’s bill goes further than previous bills on the issue by compromising with millions of Australians in the NO camp (38.4% of Australians voted against same sex marriage) by considering religious freedoms and protections. The Smith bill explicitly allows religious figures and celebrants to refuse marrying a gay couple. The bill would also redefine marriage under the Marriage Act from between “a man and a woman” to “two people.”
An alternative bill by Liberal MP James Paterson was released on Monday. Paterson’s bill has been attacked in being overly discriminatory by allowing service providers such as florists, cake makers, and function centres to refuse services for same-sex weddings.
Senator Smith’s bill is more likely to be discussed as it has cross-party support, as well as the backing of Prime Minister Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra that Senator Smith’s bill “has been around for some months and is clearly a good bill to start with.”
Where to celebrate?
Same sex marriage supporters will be united in celebration tonight from going postal street parties in Melbourne’s laneways, to the clinking of glasses, and animated drag performances strewn along Sydney’s Oxford street.
Love Is Love Party
The Beresford, 6pm
354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
Marriage Equality Civic Reception
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, 6pm
1 Bedford St, Newtown
Going Postal Party
The Rose Hotel, 6pm
52-54 Cleveland St, Chippendale
Melbourne Result Street Party
Victorian Trades Hall, 5.30pm
54 Victoria St, Carlton
Free Drinks Marriage Equality Results Party
Loop Project Space and Bar, 12pm
23 Meyers Pl, Melbourne
Closet Yes Results Party
Section 8, 5pm
27-29 Tattersalls Ln, Melbourne
You can find the full results on the ABS site here.
Sources: ABC, SMH, AFR