Rainbow colored smoke and cheers erupted at the center of Melbourne, Australia after a two-month national postal survey came out “overwhelmingly” in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.
According to a report by CNN, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed 61% of the population voted to allow same-sex marriage, with 38% voting against.
More than 12.7 million people across the country, or 79.5% of the population, took part in the survey with every state and territory returning a majority “yes.”
It’s looking like the beginning to the end of Australia’s long-running campaign to allow marriage equality in the country, where it is already legalized in many other English-speaking nations.
Speaking after the result, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it had been an “overwhelming” response in favor of “yes” and called for same-sex marriage to be legalized before Christmas.
“They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love. And now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it,” he told reporters in Canberra.
However, Turnbull was also grilled on why he had to spend nearly $122 million in taxpayer money to hold the polls in the first place, when there were already nationwide calls to have it legalized.
“Look democracy is not cheap, but I think on this occasion it was a very good investment. This is a massive affirmation and, of course, it means that the 38 per cent or so of Australians who voted ‘no’ had their say,” Turnbull said.
CNN wrote that opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten told the Melbourne rally the postal vote itself should never have happened.
“I feel for young people who had their relationships questioned in a way I wouldn’t have thought we would see ever again, but nevertheless what this marriage equality survey shows is that unconditional love always has the last word,” he said.
Politicians are expected to begin discussing the provisions of the same-sex marriage bill as early as this week.
But even ahead of the release of the results, conservative politicians inside the Australian parliament were preparing for a long fight over how marriage equality would be legalized, but even Australian Olympic champion Ian Thorpe warned conservative politicians against delaying the bill.
“(The result) spells it out loud and clear … If they play around with this issue any longer, it will be at their peril,” he told reporters Wednesday morning.