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Australia Just Voted Overwhelmingly in Favor of Marriage Equality

After a long and bitter campaign, 61.6 percent of the country's voters just affirmed their right to same-sex marriage.

Maddison Connaughton

Maddison Connaughton

Australians in support of the "yes" vote gather at Sydney's Tamarama Beach. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

By a wide margin, the Australian public voted in favor of marriage equality, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced Wednesday morning local time.

The results follow a long and bitter campaign that ended with 61.6 percent of voters in support of legalizing same-sex marriage. More than 12 million eligible voters mailed in their postal ballots.

Costing taxpayers an estimated $122 million, the postal survey’s result wasn’t exactly a shock. Opinion polls over the past few years have shown growing support for marriage equality in Australia. And polling on the postal survey showed the “YES” vote consistently hovering around 60 percent.

On Wednesday, Liberal Senator Dean Smith will introduce a bill to the Senate to lay the groundwork for marriage equality to become law. Senator Smith has been able to secure broad support for his bill—unlike a rival proposal from fellow Liberal Senator James Paterson, which was roundly shouted down as homophobic and transphobic.

Read more on VICE News.