Australia votes to legalise same-sex marriage

14 November 2017, 23:05

Australians have voted to legalise same sex marriage by an overwhelming margin in a national survey.

Some 61.6% of voters supported Australia becoming the 26th nation to legalise same-sex marriage, after countries such as the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

There were 38.4% opposed.

One of those who voted "yes" was Hamish Koci, 37, from Melbourne, who said he felt "a bit delirious" following the result.

He told Sky News Online: "I'm actually lying in bed right now exhausted because I couldn't sleep last night, I guess in anticipation of the result today.

"I'd cleared my schedule for today, thinking I'd want to be at my local gay bar, surrounded by friends.

"But it turned out I needed to be alone for whatever result was announced, because my emotional reaction was going to be extreme either way, and I didn't think I could do that in the glare of even a supportive crowd.

"I will join them later.

"So my reaction has been weepy, and happy, but still angry, and quite drained. It really was an unnecessarily long and taxing process, and it's not even over yet."

Almost 80% of eligible voters - 12.7 million people - participated in the voluntary postal survey.

At a gathering after the result in Sydney, Alex Greenwich, co-chair of the Equality Campaign said: "Love has had a landslide victory."

In comments reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, he told the thousands in the audience: "Getting to this point has not been easy, but rarely in your life can you celebrate with such pride overcoming adversity to make history."

Each of Australia's states and territories voted 'yes' by more than 60%, except for New South Wales (57.8%).

The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) had the highest 'yes' vote (74%), followed by the state of Victoria (64.9%).

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Twitter: "The people of Australia have spoken and I intend to make their wish the law of the land by Christmas.

"This is an overwhelming call for marriage equality."

The poll is non-binding but the government had promised to allow parliament to consider a bill to create marriage equality in Australia during its final two-week session, which is due to end on 7 December.

This means that a law allowing same-sex marriage could be a reality by Christmas.

A recent poll by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation found that 72% of the lower House of Representatives would support changes to marriage laws and in the Senate, 69% would approve the changes.