Australians say Yes

The referendum in Australia on same-sex marriage has produced a clear result in favour – with 61.6% support on a turnout of just under 80%.

This is a similar level of support to that shown in the Republic of Ireland’s referendum two years ago – but a much higher turnout, which was 60% in Ireland.

It’s close to an absolute majority, at 49% of all the people eligible to vote, but with a more divided result map – in the Irish referendum every declaring district backed the reform, whereas in Australia there were sharp divides.

The issue has divided the Australian parliament, but the referendum result will give fresh impetus to legislation. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the people had “spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality. They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love.”

Liberal party senator Dean Smith will introduce a bill to parliament tomorrow to start the legislative process.

While most of Australia celebrated, pro-discrimination campaigners pledged to continue the battle against reform as the legislation is debated.