Australia voted decisively in favor of marriage equality in the controversial postal plebiscite.
Participation in the vote was high, with 79.5% of voting-age Australians returning their ballots. 61.6% of respondents voted yes, an unequivocal result.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, who had called for the plebiscite as a way of appeasing far-right leaders in his own party, said: “The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly ‘yes’ for marriage equality. They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love.”
Advocates for LGBT+ rights in Australia had criticized the decision to place their civil rights on the ballot. The plebiscite campaign occasioned widespread and virulent anti-LGBT+ rhetoric, the prospect of which advocates had raised as an objection to the public vote. Nevertheless, LGBT+ people across Australia celebrated the victory at the polls.
Australian Senator Dean Smith, of the Liberal Party, said he would immediately introduce a bill to enshrine the results of the plebiscite into law.
Turnbull said: “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 us to do, and get this done, this year, before Christmas.”