10:39 GMT +324 November 2017
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    Supporters of the 'Yes' vote for marriage equality celebrate after it was announced the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage in a national survey, paving the way for legislation to make the country the 26th nation to formalise the unions by the end of the year, at a rally in central Sydney, Australia, November 15, 2017

    Australians Send 'Overwhelming' Message to Gov't: Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

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    The results of the survey have marked a turning point in a long-time campaign for marriage equality in Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said a bill to legalize same-sex marriage could be passed by the end of the year.

    A majority of Australians voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a two-month national post survey. The results released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have revealed that 61.6 percent of the population voted yes and 38.4 percent voted no.

    "​The Australian people have spoken, and they have voted overwhelmingly 'yes' for marriage equality. They voted 'yes' for fairness, they voted 'yes' for commitment, they voted 'yes' for love," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

    Turnbull also said that now it is up to the parliament to "get the job done" by the end of the year.

    ​Although the survey is not legally binding, it is expected to pave the way for Australia to legalize same-sex marriage.

    Alex Greenwich, a state lawmaker from New South Wales and the co-chairman of Australian Marriage Equality, said that the results of the vote delivered "an unequivocal mandate for Parliament to legislate  this bill as soon as possible, for a fair bill this year."

    At least seven members of the Australian parliament have publicly said they would vote against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, according to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Most lawmakers, however, have said they would support such legislation.

    Thousands of marriage equality supporters took to the streets across the country, celebrating when the results were announced.

    There have also been congratulations from around the world.

    ​Australians have long been in favor of marriage equality, but authorities have insisted they wanted to keep the traditional definition in law. An attempt to hold a national vote under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was unsuccessful due to a lack of funding. In August, Turnbull said a national mail survey would be held.

    However, the decision was criticized by country’s LGBT community, saying that the matter should not be the subject of such a vote and has asked that the government  decide this question.

    Related:

    Israel’s High Court Rules Against Same-Sex Marriage
    Australian Prime Minister Announces Vote on Same-Sex Marriage to Be Held in 2017
    German Bundestag Passes Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriages
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    vote, LGBT, same-sex marriage, Malcolm Turnbull, Australia
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