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IT'S YES: Australians support same-sex marriage

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A large majority of Australians have supported same-sex marriage in the national postal vote, with the Prime Minister pushing for new laws to give effect to the result by Christmas.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics announced this morning that all states and territories recorded a majority “yes” response to the question: Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

Nationally, 7,817,247 (61.6 per cent) of respondents voted yes, while 4,873,987 (38.4 per cent) responded no.

Nearly eight out of 10 eligible Australians returned a vote.

Only 17 of the 150 federal electorate divisions recorded a majority no response.

South Australia’s yes vote was slightly above the national figure.

Every state and territory recorded a majority ‘yes’ result above 60 per cent except NSW.

The ACT had the highest ‘yes’ vote at 74 per cent.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants federal parliament to approve same-sex marriage laws before Christmas after Australians delivered their “unequivocal” approval.

“It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done,” the prime minister told reporters in Canberra this morning.

“I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people.

“We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming.”

Parliamentary debate to legalise same-sex marriage could begin as early as Thursday.

A cross-party group of senators – led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, among others – will introduce a private bill to the upper house this afternoon.

This means debate could start on Thursday morning, the Senate’s usual time for considering private bills.

Celebrations erupt in Melbourne as the survey results are announced. Photo: AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

Labor leader Bill Shorten wants to see same-sex marriage made law within the next two parliamentary sitting weeks.

“Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate,” the Opposition Leader screamed to a crowd of thousands gathered to hear the result of the same-sex marriage survey in Melbourne.

“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.”

Shorten thanked members of the LGBTQI community for going through the survey process, which he said should not have had to happen.

“I feel for the young people who have had their relationships questioned in a way I wouldn’t have thought we would see,” he said.

Opponents of same-sex marriage reacted by vowing to fight any ensuing restrictions on freedom of speech and religion.

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton described the vote’s result as disappointing but said the group will respect the outcome.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Coalition for Marriage supporters absorbed the defeat behind closed doors at a hotel in central Sydney after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the results in Canberra shortly after 10am.

Journalists had been denied access to the room while the results were read out.

FamilyVoice Australia national director Ashley Saunders said ‘yes’ campaigners must now deliver on their promise that a vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage would not compromise freedom of conscience and religion.

“Australia’s politicians have an important task ahead,” Saunders said.

“If they decide to ignore both our heritage and our biological reality by redefining marriage, then they must also enact broad and rigorous protections for the large percentage of Australians with religious or conscientious objections to it.”

Shelton called for proper protections for parental rights, freedom of speech and belief to be put in place as a result of the ‘yes’ vote.

“Those who seek to deceive parents or deny them information about what their kids learn in school will find themselves called to account by millions of Australian mums and dads who now know what is at stake,” he said.

“Those who seek to place restrictions on freedom of speech or freedom of belief will face tough opposition from millions of Australians who understand how a change in law is used to silence those who disagree.

“Those who seek to push these ideologies through our schools and institutions will not get away with it so easily.”

– InDaily with AAP

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