Australia votes Yes in same-sex marriage survey

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

The official count of Australia's gay marriage survey have 61 per cent voting "Yes" that same-sex couples should be able to marry by Christmas.

Billboards, businesses and even cruise liners have been draped in rainbows for the result that was voted by 79.5 per cent of those eligible.

Australia has said "yes" to legalizing same-sex marriage after a controversial two-month long national postal survey.

Government conservatives led by Victorian senator James Paterson, who supports same-sex marriage, have called for increased protections for speech and religious freedom.

Australians have voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic non-binding poll.

More than 30 business leaders, including the chief executive officers of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Telstra Corp., this year petitioned the government to introduce legislation on same-sex marriage.

Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham has described the Smith bill as a "logical starting point" for a parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage. Coalition parliamentarians, who were previously required to vote against marriage equality will now be given a free vote, Labor MPs are nearly universally in favour and a majority of crossbenchers will also support the bill. In an interview in October, Turnbull said that the bill could be dealt with before Christmas. The outcome will boost marriage equality campaigners in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

Conservatives who backed the Paterson Bill are now shifting their focus to amendments on the Smith Bill, in recognition they do not have the numbers in Parliament. But nothing requires the MPs to vote according to the survey.

"A yes vote can not and should not and must not become a moment where others try to unravel existing anti-discrimination law", he said.

Cabinet minister Matt Canavan argues the survey result, whichever way it goes, should not be seen as affirmation or rejection of the Smith bill.

The proposal has already been rejected by Turnbull, who said yesterday while still overseas that "I don't believe Australians would welcome, and certainly the government ... would not countenance making legal, discrimination that is illegal, that is unlawful today".