Australia votes 'yes' to same-sex marriage

Australia votes 'yes' to same-sex marriage

After weeks of intensified debate, 61% Australian voters have declared that same sex couples should be allowed to marry by way of a unique postal survey devised by the Turnbull Government.

Turnbull, same-sex marriage supporters in Australia's ruling Liberal-National party Coalition, the Labor opposition, Greens and other cross-bench parties have reached a consensus around a cross-party bill that makes minimalist changes to protect religious freedom without legalising discrimination by commercial service providers, such as cake makers, as some conservatives in the Coalition government have demanded.

There is also a strongly-held view among moderate Liberals that, having lost the vote, opponents of same-sex marriage have no right to dictate what the law should look like.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Smith's bill a good "starting point".

Australia is learning whether the public supports same sex marriage, as the results come back from their non-binding vote.

Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Wales and Scotland.

"It is a process that we have to conclude by Christmas if we're going to keep faith with the Australian people", Mr Zimmerman said. "One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility", he told Sky News.

More news: Hate Crime Statistics Released

"I don't agree with the Prime Minister that this (James Paterson) bill makes activities which are now illegal legal", Nationals Senator Matt Canavan told ABC radio.

Two Liberal senators have released very different bills: the moderate-backed Dean Smith bill and the James Paterson bill, favoured by conservatives.

The government's own National Mental Health Commission issued warnings about the surveys effects which were not acknowledged publicly.

'Australians voted for equality.

Paterson's bill could override all anti-discrimination laws passed by state and territory level legislatures. "I don't think this survey was a vote on expanding the capacity to discriminate in our society".

Wong said the bill that everyone should be discussing is the Smith bill which has cross-party support and is due to be debated in the senate on Thursday should there be a yes result.

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