By Jennifer Davis
The ballots have been counted and Australians across the country have voted to allow same-sex couples to marry. The postal plebiscite was ordered to precede any legislation, which will be required to make marriage equality legal. Lawmakers promised to pass a law if Australians voted yes, but there is nothing holding them to that promise.
Regardless, experts believe same-sex couples might be able to marry before the end of the year. Others note there could be a waiting period before the law goes into effect, if it ultimately is allowed to pass.
61.6% of Australians voted yes, which was 7,817,247 people. 38.4% voted no.
Overall, 12,720,920 people participated, for a total of 79.5% participation rate.
The plebiscite was not a popular idea for many Australians. Same-sex marriage advocates rightly felt civil rights should not be put up to a vote. And it was a very expensive undertaking. The campaign was extremely divisive, with news reports revealing many anti-gay attacks, remarks, graffiti, and other outbursts. Australians on both sides engaged in behaviors fueling division.
Polls have been showing over 60 percent approval consistently.
Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch revealed the results live from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra.