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A while ago, Australia voted on marriage equality. This morning, Australia waited with bated breath. The numbers are in.
With a total of 12.7 million votes, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the YES vote has won the postal survey by 61.6 percent to the NO vote, which came in at 38.4 percent.
It was formally announced this morning in Canberra by leading statistician David Kalisch. What’s bloody brilliant was every single state and territory had a recorded majority of YES votes by over 60 percent (except NSW, which came in at 58 percent, but we’ll ignore that).
Despite the fact it was a voluntary survey, 79.5% of the eligible population participated. What’s astonishing was the purpose of the postal plebiscite was to deter younger voters from voting (considering us millennials are always up and about, we obviously don’t know what a mailbox is). Despite the fact that there was a slightly higher number of older voters, the plebiscite resulted in a record number of young people enrolling to vote and updating their postal details.
While some may consider the whole thing a complete waste of money (a solid $122 million), there is victory here. Australia wants same-sex marriage. Here are some of the amazing reactions across Twitter once the results were in.
Thank you Australia.
— AU Marriage Equality (@AMEquality) November 14, 2017
— Tom Cowie (@tom_cowie) November 14, 2017
— Lisa Visentin (@LisaVisentin) November 14, 2017
Congratulations Australia. May you all finally live and love freely without fear of discrimination and persecution. #MarriageEquality 🏳️🌈
— Emma Blackery (@emmablackery) November 15, 2017
Australians have spoken. Same sex marriage should be legalized. #MarriageEquality
— Sara Ramirez (@SaraRamirez) November 14, 2017
SO PROUD OF AUSTRALIA & THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY! WE’RE REALLY CHANGING THE WORLD ♥️🏳️🌈 #MarriageEquality
— sebastian olzanski (@sebtsb) November 15, 2017
Shorten: "It may have been 61% who voted yes in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTQI Australians, you are 100% loved, 100% valued and after the next two weeks of Parliament 100% able to marry the person you love" #auspol #marriageequality
— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) November 14, 2017
Now, where to from here?
We basically have to wait for the Federal Government to get a move on and make it legal. According to the ABC, both houses of Parliament are looking to say yes to the bill and change marriage law.
Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, who has been a supporter of the SSM, hopes to make this a reality within two weeks.
“It may have been 61 per cent who voted ‘yes’ in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTIQ Australians you are 100 per cent loved, 100 per cent valued. And after the next two weeks of parliament, 100 per cent able to marry the person that you love.”
PM Malcolm Turnbull also said in a video response on Twitter,
“The Australian people have had their say, and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted overwhelmingly for fairness, for commitment, for love, and now it’s our job, the Australian Parliament, all of us here to get on with it and get this done before Christmas.”
It would be the best Christmas present for the LGBTI+ community to know they’ll be able to marry who they love before the year is over. Australia is getting closer and closer to marriage equality – just a little longer, and it will soon be a reality.