Celebrations broke out across Australia after a two-month national postal survey came out “overwhelmingly” in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage.
Results released Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed 61% of the population voted to allow same-sex marriage, with 38% voting against.
Rainbow-colored smoke, confetti and cheers erupted in the centre of Melbourne following the announcement, where hundreds of people had gathered to hear the result.
When couple Jane Mahoney, 28, and Josie Lennie, 26, heard the result they collapsed into each others’ arms in tears. “(Now) we need to save and also gets lots of fun ideas from the other gay weddings,” they told CNN.
More than 12.7 million people across the country, or 79.5% of the population, took part in the survey with every state and territory returning a majority “yes.”
Celebrations, singing and tears greeted the announcement in Melbourne.
It’s the beginning of the end of a long-running campaign to allow marriage equality in Australia, something already legal in the majority of English-speaking countries worldwide.
Speaking after the result, Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it had been an “overwhelming” response in favour of “yes” and called for same-sex marriage to be legalized before Christmas.
“They voted ‘yes’ for fairness, they voted ‘yes’ for commitment, they voted ‘yes’ for love. And now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten told the Melbourne rally the postal vote itself should never have happened.
Politicians are expected to begin discussing the specifics of the same-sex marriage bill as early as this week.