Rainbow celebrations as Australians vote for same-sex marriage

The Senate could begin debating changes to the Marriage Act as early as this week if the'Yes vote comes out on top

David Kalisch, the chief statistician for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said 61.6 percent of the votes were cast in support of same-sex marriage, with 38.4 percent against. Thousands of same-sex marriage supporters celebrated the "Yes" result by waving rainbow flags and hugging each other at mass gatherings organised across the nation.

Nearly 80 percent of eligible voters took part in the survey - a higher turnout than Britain's Brexit vote and Ireland's same-sex marriage referendum.

Supporters of the same-sex marriage "Yes" vote gather to celebrate the announcement in a Sydney park on November 15, 2017. "And you can be sure we'll hold them to that - we expect a timely vote on a fair and simple bill, this year", he said.

"It is my goal and I believe it's the same commitment from all parties, that we should get this done before Christmas", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told ABC Radio.

Turnbull played down concern of a split in his coalition government over the policy as the conservative faction presses for amendments to protect religious freedoms that discriminate against same-sex couples.

This include allowing commercial service providers to reject same-sex weddings and let parents pull their children from school programmes they feel undermine heterosexual traditions.

A survey of federal politicians by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published yesterday found that 72 per cent of the lower House of Representatives would support changes to marriage laws and in the Senate, 69 per cent would approve the changes.

She has said the result will be a new hope for marriage equality campaigners, and called on Northern Ireland to be the next to vote in favour of marriage equality. "I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people".

'It's been a battle but actually today the battle to make sure that the freedoms of all Australians are protected still goes on, ' she said.

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