AUSTRALIANS have voted in support of legalising same-sex marriage following the results of a national survey.
The result came to 61.6 per cent voting ‘Yes’ and 38.4 per cent voting ‘No’.
A total of 133 out of 150 electorates recorded a majority ‘Yes’ result while only 17 voted ‘No’.
The national survey returned 7.8 million responses in support of same sex marriage and 4.9 million voted against.
Queensland voters followed the national trend with 61 per cent voting ‘Yes’ and 39 per cent voting ‘No’.
In an address to the Australian public, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the survey results captured the views of the Australian people.
“It is our job now to get on with it, get on with it and get this done,” Mr Turnbull.
“It is fair. The people have voted yes for marriage equality. Now it is our job to deliver it.”
Liberal Senator Dean Smith is expected to introduce his bill in the Senate today to legalise SSM.
However, conservatives are pushing for an alternative bill with far-reaching religious protections.
Large crowds sporting the rainbow flag turned out in Brisbane on George St near Parliament House and in Sydney’s Prince Alfred Park.
Comedian and same-sex marriage campaigner Magda Szubanski performed a jig on stage at the Sydney rally.
“Decades of struggle, advocacy and campaigning has won an historic victory,” Opposition leader Bill Shorten said in a joint statement with fellow Labor politicians, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong and Terri Butler.
“This has been a long and difficult campaign for many LGBTIQ people, your families and friends. We salute your courage, strength and determination to win this fight.”
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Denis Hart said today in the wake of the result that parliament must work to unify Australians by respecting different views on marriage.
“The Catholic Church, and many others who sought to retain the definition of marriage as it has been understood for centuries, continues to view marriage as a special union between a woman and a man, which allows for the creation and nurture of children,” Archbishop Hart said.
“A change in civil law does not change the Catholic understanding of the nature of marriage.
“The Catholic Church continues to respect the dignity of LGBTIQ Australians and our ministries will continue to care deeply about the dignity and value of all people we encounter.
“Parliamentarians must recognise and respect the concerns of the more than 4.8 million Australians who opposed a change to the definition of marriage by putting in place strong conscience and religious freedom protections.
“These protections must ensure that Australians can continue to express their views on marriage, that faith-based schools can continue to teach the traditional understanding of marriage and that organisations can continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with those values.”
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher encouraged traditional marriage supporters to promote the sanctity of marriage.
Archbishop Fisher said while he respected the views of ‘Yes’ voters, he was “deeply disappointed” that it could lead to legislation that would “further deconstruct marriage and family in Australia”.
“But I am heartened that millions of Australians still stand by the conviction that marriage is a unique relationship between a man and woman,” Archbishop Fisher said.
“In fact, only 48 per cent of eligible voters voted Yes to redefining marriage in law.”
Archbishop Fisher acknowledged all voters who courageously stood up for traditional marriage.
“From the outset it has often seemed a David and Goliath struggle with politicians, corporates, celebrities, journalists, professional and sporting organisations drowning out the voices of ordinary Australians and pressuring everyone to vote Yes,” the Archbishop said.
“What’s remarkable is how many stuck to their guns and voted No or abstained.”
Leading ‘No’ campaigner, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, said the postal survey was “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,” Senator Abetz said.
“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.”