Unfortunately, but as we predicted, Australians have emphatically voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, saying “yes” to the historic social change by a substantial margin of 61.6 per cent to 38.4 per cent. After years of political stagnation, the public has now tasked the Turnbull government with changing the law before Christmas to allow same-sex couples to marry. Almost 80 per cent of eligible voters participated in the unprecedented voluntary postal survey, giving the verdict an authority unmatched by most elections globally.
Australia is one of the last English-speaking nations to take this step, and is poised to join 25 other countries that have re-engineered the definition of marriage, moving away from biblical norms.
At street parties across the country, gay and lesbian Australians cheered, danced and embraced as the results of the landmark vote were announced.
“Love has had a landslide victory,” declared Alex Greenwich, co-chair of the Equality Campaign, from a public gathering in Sydney. Mr. Greenwich said the campaign had exceeded all expectations, and the result had delivered “an unequivocal mandate” for politicians to vote through the change.
Every state and territory voted “yes” by more than 60 per cent except for NSW, where the “yes” vote was 57.8 per cent, and the “no” vote was 42.2 per cent. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) had the highest “yes” vote in the country at 74 per cent, followed by Victoria at 64.9 per cent.
Mr. Turnbull, the Prime Minister speaking shortly after the results were announced, heralded the “overwhelming” support for same-sex marriage. “They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love,” he said. “It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming.”
“And now it is up to us, here in the Parliament of Australia, to get on with it,” he added, “to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do, and get this done this year, before Christmas. That must be our commitment.”
Gay Liberal senator Dean Smith declared it “the most important electoral mandate” Australia had ever seen. “This is by any and every measure a huge democratic achievement for our country,” he said. “I have never been more proud to stand up and represent Australian people than I was this morning when I listened to that result.”
Gay Labor frontbencher Penny Wong thanked Australians for their “resounding” verdict and spoke of how difficult the public vote had been for the LGBTI community. “I hope from this you can take a message of solidarity, of support, of decency from your fellow Australians,” Wong said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, speaking to a jubilant crowd in Melbourne, said the emphatic verdict was “not just good for marriage equality” but showed “Australians have voted for a generous view of themselves, for a modern Australia, where diversity is accepted, supported and respected.
“Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate.”
The de facto leader of the “no” campaign, Australian Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton, conceded defeat and said he accepted the democratic decision of the Australian people.
Debate inside and outside Parliament will now turn to the legislation. Fierce argument is expected over religious exemptions.
Australians have a tendency to defy God’s word, like many other secular nations. They do not understand where this will take them. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot… even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:28 and 30.