Australia votes to legalize same-sex marriage

Lismore celebrates same sex marriage vote

The results of the Australian survey for marriage equality have been tallied, with respondents voting overwhelmingly in support of same-sex marriage.

The voluntary poll is non-binding but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull immediately said he would fulfill a pledge to put a proposal to parliament to pass laws on marriage equality by the end of the year.

It was one way to get around the funding issue, as the survey was run by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, removing the need for parliamentary approval.

Nearly 80 percent of the Australian population participated in the voluntary postal survey, which asked, "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

But, several politicians have previously said they would vote against a change in the law regardless of public opinion.

"They voted "yes" for fairness, they voted "yes" for commitment, they voted "yes" for love".

Same-sex marriage has been banned in Australia since 2004 when the Howard government changed the Marriage Act to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith has said he will introduce a bill to parliament this week to legalize same-sex marriage.

In a speech after the result Equality Campaign spokesman, Alex Greenwich, said: "Today love has had a landslide victory".

Australia had about 46,800 same-sex couples in 2016, a 39 percent increase since 2011, government figures show. Turnbull has vowed that the latter bill won't see the light of day, although some conservatives in the parliament have signaled that they will push for it, including the former prime minister and most prominent "no" camp leader, Tony Abbott.

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