We’ve had numerous polls declaring ‘yes’ vote the winner, a Griffith University study predicting a ‘no’ result, Bob Hawke savaging Malcolm Turnbull for spending “122 million bloody dollars” of taxpayers money, and everything in between, in the same-sex marriage plebiscite that has gripped the nation.
And finally after months of debate since the High Court gave the green light for the postal vote to go ahead in September, and after more than 12 million Australians (more than 79% of eligible voters) had their say, we have a result.
The YES campaign has won. It secured 61.6% of the vote, close to 8 million of the 12 million respondents.
David Kalisch from the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the verdict this morning.
The ACT had the largest percentage of ‘Yes’ voters with 74% as well as the highest participation rates, while NSW had the most ‘No’ voters with 42%.
It is now expected to return to Parliament where MPs will vote on a bill to allow the LGBIT community the right to marry.
Speaking in Canberra, Turnbull said: “They have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love.”
“And 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.
“Each house will vote on the amendments and vote on the Bill and it is my belief that the Parliament will duly resolve, if the people have voted Yes, to legalise same-sex marriage before we get up at the end of the year,” 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.
The Herald Sun says the Smith Bill is expected to have the numbers to pass through the Parliament by December 7.
This was backed by Turnbull, who said: “Each house will vote on the amendments and vote on the Bill and it is my belief that the Parliament will duly resolve, if the people have voted Yes, to legalise same-sex marriage before we get up at the end of the year.”
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) November 14, 2017
The result has already attracted international attention, with a host of global leaders and stars commending the country on the landslide result.
Seeing my feed full of rainbows leaves me breathless. So happy. Everyone tweet rainbows until your thumbs hurt!!!!!!! 🏳️🌈🌈🏳️🌈🌈🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/WQohc0sqXL
— Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) November 15, 2017
Congratulations Australia! Another important step toward equality for all. 🇦🇺 #MarriageEquality
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) November 15, 2017
Congrats Australia! pic.twitter.com/mbBoj9fFId
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) November 14, 2017
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) November 15, 2017
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who made a personal donation to the ‘Yes’ campaign to the tune of $1 million, has implored the government to now follow through and legalise gay marriage.
In a statement to Business Insider, he said: “What a proud moment for Australia. It’s the epitome of a ‘fair go’ and shows that as a nation we want to be more inclusive, not less.”
“I think that’s something worth celebrating whether this decision affects you or not. It’s certainly something the global community will take notice of.
“The outpouring of support for marriage equality over the past few months has been really heartening. People from all walks of life stood up to be counted, including the business community.
“It’s now over to Canberra to make sure they act on what the people have told them.”
Here at Qantas, we are proud to support Australian Marriage Equality 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/JtyZ3csicH
— Qantas (@Qantas) November 14, 2017
The No campaign’s response
Meanwhile, the ‘No’ campaign refuses to lie down. The Coalition for Marriage has vowed to “work to defend Australian families”.
“We will now do what we can to guard against restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of religion, to defend parents’ rights, and to protect Australian kids from being
exposed to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in the classrooms,” spokesman Lyle Shelton said.