Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of marriage equality in a nationwide postal vote survey.
Over 7.8 million (61.6%) Australians voted in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, with 4.8 million opposing (38.4%), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Turnout was almost 80%, which Australian statistician David Kalisch called “outstanding for a voluntary survey,” the Guardian reports.
Australia’s two largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney, had the highest percentage of Yes votes, with almost 84% of residents in the cities supporting marriage equality — perhaps unsurprising, given Sydney is renown worldwide for its LGBTQ population and Mardi Gras parade, and LGBTQ people tend to concentrate in urban areas.
The vote doesn’t legally bind Australia to legalize same-sex marriage, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he intended to make it “the law of the land by Christmas.”
Turnbull added that Australians had voted “overwhelmingly yes for fairness, for commitment, for love,” in a video posted to Twitter.
Alex Greenwich, of the Equality Campaign, said that YES triumphed because “millions of Australians reached out to our own families, neighborhoods, organisations — to stand up for equality, stand by our loved ones and share why YES was so important.”
“Now, because of you, ours will be the last generation in which LGBTI relationships are not equal under the law,” he said. “For the young person growing up in a small town, for the couple who have been together 40 years, and the person who’s been longing to propose: you belong here, your love is celebrated and honored here, and never again will you be made to feel otherwise by our country’s laws.
“So pick up the phone right now. Call your son or daughter. Text your best friend. Hug your grandma. High-five the coffee guy. Pump the music in your office. Put a shiny new badge on your profile pic. Give your child a great big cuddle. Because today in Australia, fairness and equality triumphed, and we can all be proud.”
Reactions to the news are pouring in on social media:
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