Australia Votes for Same-Sex Marriage, But Will Politicians Listen?

The Australian government has been conducting a mail-in survey on marriage equality for all of its citizens and the results are finally in: Australians overwhelmingly are in support of legalizing same-sex marriage!

With nearly 80 percent of the country participating in the optional survey, 61.6 percent gave the thumbs-up to permitting people of the same gender to wed. Each and every state and territory gave its majority support to the proposal.

Unfortunately, that solid majority doesn’t automatically make same-sex marriage legal. The survey was conducted to gauge public support in advance of legislation. Now we’ll have to wait and see whether or not lawmakers are willing to listen.

As Care2’s Steve Williams previously explained, the country’s Liberal (center-right) party has been obstructing marriage equality for years. Under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Liberals blocked the issue from even going to a parliamentary vote, with Abbott arguing a matter like this one should be left up to the public rather than politicians.

In 2015, fellow Liberal Malcolm Turnbull took over as prime minister, and brought with him a more progressive stance on same-sex marriage. Because his party continued to stall on a vote to legalize it, though, he agreed to conduct a public poll to set the wheels in motion.

Turnbull, who voted yes to legalization, is optimistic that the more reticent members of his party will feel obligated to listen to the results of the survey. “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 this year before Christmas,” he said.

The good news is it looks like even some of the MPs who previously were opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage have indicated they’ll acquiesce to the will of the people. ABC reached out to all of the nation’s lawmakers, and 73 percent in the Upper House and 76 percent of the Lower House are prepared to vote to make marriage equality a reality. Even Abbott said his peers should “respect the result.”

On the downside, getting to this point of a more loving and accepting Australia required a contentious campaign battle while the surveys were distributed. Those who opposed same-sex marriage unleashed some disparaging ads that vilified the LGBTQ community in a way that made it clear that gay people in Australia will still be subject to discrimination and intolerance regardless of the vote.

At least, however, the marriage equality antagonists realize how much of a minority they are in thanks to the large margin in the vote. Realizing his side would lose before the vote, Abbott had said achieving 40 percent on the no side would be considered a “moral victory.” He failed to clear even that hurdle, though.

In the meantime, be sure to sign the Care2 petition urging the Australian Parliament to follow through on the people’s will. There’s no reason to stall this matter any further – it’s time to give same-sex couples in Australia equal protections under the law.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

53 comments

Mike R
Mike R1 days ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R1 days ago

Thanks

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Olivia H
Olivia H3 days ago

Thank you

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donald B
donald B17 days ago

Thanks !!!!

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Christian Menges
Christian M17 days ago

Germany was the next. Now Australia

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Chad A
Chad Anderson23 days ago

Nice.

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Amanda M
Amanda M25 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M25 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Veronica D
Veronica D25 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica D
Veronica D25 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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