November 14, 2017 at 6:58 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Majority of Australians back same-sex marriage in national vote

A majority of Australians who voted on a non-binding plebiscite on whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples have voted “yes.” (Image by Fry1989; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Australia is poised to become the next country to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples after a majority of voters who took part in a non-binding plebiscite voted “yes.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said 61.6 percent of voters said gays and lesbians should be able to marry in the country, compared to 38.4 percent of voters who voted “no.” Nearly 80 percent of eligible voters took part in the voluntary plebiscite.

The New York Times reported gay MP Dean Smith plans to introduce a same-sex marriage bill, which observers expect will pass the Australian Parliament before the end of the year. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull — who called for the plebiscite — in a video statement urged lawmakers “to get on with it and get this done before Christmas.”

“The Australian people have had their say and they have voted overwhelmingly for marriage equality,” said Turnbull. “They voted overwhelmingly for fairness, for commitment, for love.”

Supporters of marriage rights for same-sex couples who were gathered in Sydney, Melbourne and other Australian cities celebrated the plebiscite results. Kylie Minogue, who is from Australia, on her Twitter page said “love is love, always was love, always will be love.”

“The people of Australia haven’t just said yes, they’ve roared yes,” Tiernan Brady, the director of the “yes” campaign, told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview from Sydney. “It’s just literally an incredibly result.”

“It is time to pass the law,” he added.

Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb in a statement said his organization congratulates “Australia’s LGBTQ advocates and allies who worked so hard to ensure a victory in this postal survey.”

“It’s crucial that loving, committed same-sex couples in Australia have the same rights and protections that come with marriage,” he added. “We urge the Australian Parliament to take swift action ensuring marriage equality becomes the law of the land.”

Gay Panama lawyer: Australians ‘have sent a message’

Same-sex couples can legally marry in the U.S., Canada, Mexico City and a number of states in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barts, St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Scotland, the Isle of Man, England, Wales, Guernsey, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Gibraltar, Malta, South Africa and New Zealand.

The Taiwanese Constitutional Court in May issued a landmark ruling that said same-sex couples can legally marry in two years if lawmakers fail to act on the issue. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in August introduced a bill that would extend marriage rights to gays and lesbians.

The Australia plebiscite results were announced less than a week after hundreds of activists from across the Western Hemisphere attended a conference in Costa Rica that focused on same-sex marriage in Latin America.

Iván Chanis Barahona, a gay Panamanian lawyer who is working with the plaintiffs in two marriage lawsuits that are before the Central American country’s Supreme Court, is among those who attended the Costa Rica conference. Chanis, who is president of Fundación Iguales, a Panamanian advocacy group, in a press release said Australians have recognized that “their gay and lesbian neighbors and friends should be able to have the same aspirations and opportunities in live as everyone else.”

“Australians have sent a message to their Parliament that says everyone in Australia should be treated equally under the law, including the option to be able to marry the person they love,” he said.

Iván Chanis Barahona is a gay Panamanian lawyer who is spearheading efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in his Central American country. He is among the same-sex marriage activists around the world who have applauded the results of the Australia’s non-binding plebiscite on the issue. (Photo courtesy of Iván Chanis Barahona)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • So much drama! Just make it happen! New Zealand has it, stop wasting time!

  • Lies

  • no matter how this makes one feel happy or what differences in opinons people have about, by the wrong way of pursuing things here with this behavior and legalizing gay marriage there is nothing to be gained nor found from it in the long run with theses very lies and deceptions but in the much longer run down in the future much to be lost.

  • I DON’T respect perversion or that perverted marriage equality blinded by pride equality.

  • I don’t want to hate the people but I do hate the behaviors as well all the bigotry play card accusations those people play, just another world falling away as getting ready to drift futher in to great madness.

  • By the way don’t bother telling me telling this thing about if you don’t believe in gay marriage because A. I don’t buy it B. I don’t care C. It’s not relevant in the correct sense either.

  • Also don’t bother telling me this stuff about how much it is no ones nor my business who two people of the same gender marry either. Because though it may be relevant in the sense you don’t get to have control over other people or considering how corrupt the laws in the United States have become A. I do not but that B. I DON’T CARE C. No matter how much they maybe entitled to it now SO BE IT as well HOW MUCH IT IS ULTIMATELY none of mine or NO ONES BUSINESS forget it, NONE of that is relevant in the correct sense because D.The people had the right to protect marriage and the LGBTS duh never were entitled to it. E. Regardless of peoples opinions or view points, the federal judges as well as the Supreme Court of America should never had done what they and NO they were NOT even acting properly when they did this by legalizing gay marriage to begin with.

  • If I find someone try to send me bogus or contrary information regarding this stuff then believe with or without warning I will disable your accounts ability to speak to me for the time being for up to 48 or more and no I don’t want hear any lying information about gay marriage. Don’t try to tell me that affects no one because A. That is not entirely accurate information B. That is only semi true not entirely accurate. C. It does have the ability to do indirect affects if not directly affect you personally or what goes on in a church but cause indirect affects in religious affairs as well as it’s potentiality to create problems indirectly, Kim Davis is a perfect example. D. Also don’t bother telling me that children are unaffected because that is another lie and inconsistent skewed information, they are affected. It changes the way a child views a marriage and has the potential to expose them to the life of gay behavior as well as homogeneously confuse gender. Those studies that say children are unaffected are inaccurate. Maybe not ever child is going to be affected quite the same way another children maybe but it has the potential to do this.

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