From September to November, Australians had the opportunity to have their say on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in an expensive postal survey that turned out to be just a little bit of a shemozzle. Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the official results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
And it's an emphatic "YES"!
The Australian political landscape has been an absolute nightmare for the last four months (you can argue longer if you like). Human rights violations on Manus Island, the citizenship cataclysm that Scott Ludlam began… Yet there is one issue that has dominated the landscape: whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.
Now it’s official.
At 10am this morning, ABS head David Kalisch announced that the majority of Australians who participated in the survey want same-sex marriage to be legal. 7,817,247 people responded "yes" which worked out to 61.6% of the total. Every state and territory recorded a majority yes result over of over 60% with the exception of NSW which had a majority yes result of 57%. Almost 80% of eligible Australians returned their survey.
What Does This Mean For Same-Sex Marriage Now?
The result of the postal survey is non-binding and the Australian Government is not legally bound to legalise same-sex marriage.
However, WA Senator Dean Smith will introduce his private members bill to make same-sex marriage legal tomorrow, November 16. Previously, the Government has stated that they will facilitate a ‘free vote’ or ‘conscience vote’ on this, or a similar bill, where politicians will be allowed to vote based on personal preference, rather than party lines.
His draft bill has been floating around for a couple of months and, at its most basic level, suggests changing the terminology in the Marriage Act from “between a man and a woman” to between “two people”.
It really is that simple.
There are other changes in the draft bill, such as those who have the authority to carry out the marriage process. If you want to see the draft bill, you can head here. You can find a more detailed breakdown of the survey results on the ABS website.