The process for a historic free vote on same-sex marriage is now formally underway in Federal Parliament after Australians delivered a resounding Yes vote in the national postal survey.
More than two months after survey forms began arriving in mail boxes and longer still since the Yes and No campaigns kicked off, ABS chief statistician David Kalisch revealed the decision: “61.6 per cent of clear responses were yes”.
It was part of a larger statement but it was enough to prompt emotional celebrations at Yes events around the nation.
Confetti and rainbow flags flew in the air, couples hugged and kissed. Many cried with joy.
At some events people proposed to their partners.
There were also scenes of jubilation inside Parliament House.
Labor’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, was moved to tears.
On the other side of the debate, most seemed to accept the outcome.
No campaigner Lyle Shelton, from the Coalition for Marriage, called it a disappointing result but said his group accepted and respected the decision of the Australian people.
He said his focus would now be on fighting for parents’ rights and fighting for freedom of speech and belief.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the votes were “overwhelmingly” in favour of gay marriage and hailed it as a great moment in Australian history.
“This is just a great day, such a joyful day,” Mr Turnbull told commercial radio.