By Paul Karp
Australia has taken a decisive step towards legislating marriage equality by Christmas after 61.6% of voters in an unprecedented national postal survey approved a change to the law to allow couples of the same sex to marry.
The result, announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, will lead to consideration of a same-sex marriage bill in parliament with the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, promising marriage equality should be law by Christmas.
With a turnout of 79.5% the result in the voluntary survey is considered a highly credible reflection of Australian opinion and gives marriage equality advocates enormous momentum to achieve the historic social reform. Australia’s chief statistician, David Kalisch, announced the results at a press conference in Canberra at 10am on Wednesday, revealing 7,817,247 people voted in favour and 4,873,987 voted against.
At a press conference in Canberra, Turnbull said that Australians had “spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality”.
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