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Australians overwhelmingly expressed support for marriage equality. Now what?

Around 79 percent of all eligible voters participated in Australia’s national postal survey on marriage equality, and now the results are in. As projected, there was very strong support for legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, with 61.6 percent calling for it to be legalized and 38.4 percent percent opposing it. The government promised, if the “Yes” vote prevailed, that it would allow the Parliament of Australia to hold a conscience vote on a marriage equality bill. Multiple versions of marriage equality legislation have also been proposed that could render results counter to the national survey outcome. Borrowing from American conservative tactics, it would legalize marriage for same-sex couples, but also create broad “Religious freedom” exemptions for business owners who want to refuse service to those couples.

Turnbull, who supports Smith’s bill, has said marriage equality could be the law of the land by Christmas, but no timeline is guaranteed.

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