By ETHAN GRIFFITHS and AZARIA HOWELL
Australia has done it.
The majority of Australians have voted in favour of same-sex marriage. Years of decisive political and public debate have officially come to a head, with 61% of Aussies voting in favour of same sex marriage.
Officially 7,817,247 people voted yes compared to 4,873,987 people voting no. Even though the amount of No voters may not seem like much, it is still more than the current population of New Zealand, meaning there was significant support for the No campaign in Australia.
According to the current Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australians voted yes “for fairness, commitment, and love.” His electorate, Wentworth, voted 80% in favour of same-sex marriage and only 20% against. Mr. Turnbull said to a crowd of supporters “today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate.”
New Zealand legalised same-sex marriage in August 2013 after being passed through Parliament. The bill in the house of representatives passed with 77 MPs in favour and 44 against. The Bill was introduced into Parliament by Labour MP Louisa Wall (who identifies as being homosexual), and had notable members of Parliament vote not in favour of gay marriage. These included former Prime Minister Bill English, current Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and National’s youngest former minister Simon Bridges.
So far, the only real effect in New Zealand due to same sex marriage being legalised is that two consenting adults who love each other can legally get married. What has been seen as scaremongering throughout the lead up to the vote in NZ, including the threat of increased rates of HIV and and the fact that “if we let gay couples marry, soon siblings will marry” have shown to be none other than “completely ridiculous and unfounded arguments” according to the Yes campaign in Australia.
LGBT+ activism and support group Australian Marriage Equality were huge advocates in getting people to vote yes in Australia. They knocked on over 100,000 doors all across the country to encourage Aussies to post their yes vote.
The organisation are well and truly happy that the majority of Australians voted in support of same-sex marriage. “There was no stopping us — we were excited to come out in force and show our support for equality!” They also say the yes result is due to so many people getting out and campaigning for equality.
Many Australians are now wondering about the next steps the government will take due to this plebiscite. The current Prime Minister is a supporter, and so is Senator Penny Wong from the Australian Labor Party. She said in a statement on Facebook, “Australians have done their part. It time for Parliament to do ours.”
“It’s time for Marriage Equality.”
Ethan and Azaria are both members of the LGBT community have supported the Yes Campaign in Australia over the last few months. You can follow Azaria on Instagram at @MakeAzariaGreatAgain and Ethan on Twitter at @KiwiEthan.
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