Australia votes for marriage equality
More than 7.8 million Australians have voted “yes” to same sex marriage garnering 61.6% of clear responses beating the 4.9 million “no” voters with 38.4% of responses. Marriage equality campaigners and backers like your blogger have expressed their joy and relief at the Yes result in Australia’s Marriage Law Postal Survey.Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to deliver marriage equality following the vote for same-sex marriage.”We must respect the voice of the people. We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming,” Mr Turnbull said “They are our masters, we who were elected to parliament. It is our job now to get on with it, get on with it and get this done. It is fair. The people have voted yes for marriage equality. Now it is our job to deliver it.”Mr Turnbull acknowledged that Australians had “spoken in their millions” and voted overwhelmingly Yes for marriage equality.”They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love. And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done,” he said.”This year, before Christmas – that must be our commitment.”Turnbull also claimed the people of Australia want politicians to “get on with it”. Cheers, smiles and tears told hundreds of individual stories as news of the “yes” campaign’s win spread through the country.Television and Twitter images showed couples who had waited and fought for marriage equality kissing, friends embracing with tears in their eyes. A total of just over 12.7 million accounting for 79.5% of the electorate participated in the survey overall. Australian Capital Territory led the vote with 74%, followed by Victoria at 64.9%, Western Australia 63.7%, Tasmania 63.6%, South Australia 62.5%, Queensland 60.7%, the Northern Territory 60.6% and disappointingly last is New South Wales 57.8%. World political leaders and celebrities have expressed their support for Australia’s landmark majority Yes vote on same-sex marriage with CEO of Apple, Tim Cook tweeting that it was an important step forward for equality across the world.Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron, who led UK in legalizing same-sex marriage has tweeted saying he was delighted with the result. “I’m incredibly proud of legalizing same-sex marriage in the UK & delighted that other countries are looking to do the same. G’day Australia.”First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon applauded the country’s decision with a short message on Twitter: “Well done, Australia.”Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “thrilled” with the majority decision.”Love wins in Australia! Thrilled to hear Australians have voted in favor of legalizing [sic] same-sex marriage,” he wrote.Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres – who is married to Australian Portia de Rossi gave her support for the nation’s decision: “It’s a g’day. Way to go Australia,” she wrote.
Legendary equality campaigner Bill Rutkin said the 61.6 per cent “yes” response was another win in a long series of battles in a state that has often been slow to act on civil rights.“It’s almost 50 years since the campaign against moral persecution was formed in Queensland,” said Mr Rutkin, who was the movement’s youngest member.“I almost burst into tears thinking about how far our community has come and the trials that we’ve been through in that time.“From the police harassment, from the bashings, from the bullying, to the deaths and the suicides through the AIDS epidemic and more deaths and terrible, terrible times.“To today, where finally we’ve found our place in the sun, sort of. We still need the politicians to do their bit.” South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has said “It’s an extraordinary relief for those of us who have been supporting marriage equality for an extended period of time.” “Very pleased South Australia registered a very strong result, above the national average.”I think it demonstrates this sense of justice that people in South Australia have, a natural demand for equality.”Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe, who has been a prominent face of the equality campaign, said at a press conference at the event he was proud of his involvement and advocacy.”I have been pleased I have been able to be part of it,” Thorpe said.”I feel is right not only for the LGBTI community but for the Australian community as well.“Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who has spoken out for marriage equality throughout the campaign, reflected on how his nation of birth, Ireland, had already legalised same-sex marriage in 2015.”Today I am even more proud of Australia, the country of my selection,” Mr Joyce said.”We now send a message from the Australian people to get on with it, we now expect it, we needed to be delivered and we needed to be delivered fast. Get on and do it, Mr Turnbull.” In a nutshell, 133 of the 150 Federal electorates voted “yes”, and 17 “no”, with Blaxland the highest “no” electorate at 74%. 12 New South Wales electorates, three Queensland electorates and two Victorian electorates voted “no”. According to the data, the closest result was in Bennelong, the seat where a byelection will be held 16 December, where “no” had the most votes by 50.2% to 49.8%. The highest “yes” votes were in the electorates of Melbourne and Sydney both at 84%. Turnout was slightly higher among women at 81.6% than men at 77.3%. The youngest eligible voters between ages of 18 and 19 year-olds participated strongly with a 78.2% turnout, more than for any other age group below 45.The seven highest “no” votes by electorate were all in Western Sydney, with “no” winning at least 59% in all seven of these electorates. “No” won 74% in Blaxland, 70% in Watson, 65% in McMahon, 64% in Werriwa, 64% in Fowler, 62% in Parramatta and 59% in Chifley.