The Australian public has voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality, the ABS has announced. The results follow a long and bitter campaign. More than 12 million eligible voters mailed in their postal ballots, and 61.6 percent of voters supported the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The result was not exactly unexpected. Opinion polls over the past few years have shown growing support for marriage equality in Australia. And recent polling on the postal survey showed the "YES" vote hovering around 60 percent. Yet still the postal survey went ahead, costing taxpayers an estimated $122 million.
This afternoon, Liberal Senator Dean Smith will introduce a private members bill into the Senate, the groundwork for legislating marriage equality. Senator Smith has been able to secure broad support for his bill—unlike a rival bill from fellow Liberal Senator James Paterson, which was roundly shouted down as homophobic and transphobic.
So, how long will it take to legalise marriage equality? Well, it seems there's strong support to get this done in both houses of Parliament. However, it's likely debate will continue on Senator Smith's bill into December.