Australia votes for same-sex marriage

What happened?

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has said he is “deeply disappointed” after Australia voted for same-sex marriage. In a postal vote, the Yes side won by a margin of 62 to 38 per cent, gaining 7,817,247 votes against the No campaign’s 4,873,987. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he hopes to pass a new law by Christmas to open marriage to same-sex couples. Political debate will now turn to the question of religious freedom and civil liberties.

What the media are saying

“I’ve fallen in love with my country all over again,” said David Marr in the Guardian. The result, which showed Australia as a “wonderfully muddled, lively society”, had proved “reactionaries” wrong: “All they ever bang on about is sex. Their grim message is always the same: change the sex rules and the roof falls in. The roof is up there still, secure as ever, yet that’s all they’re preaching now.”

In Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Miranda Devine said that, as a No voter, she accepted the result. But “now social conservatives find themselves disenfranchised and unprotected” – and are being “ridiculed” for trying to protect free expression. Senator James Paterson, for instance, has been mocked for his “serious effort to craft a bill that balances competing rights”.

What the bishops are saying

In a press release, Archbishop Fisher said the campaign had been a “David and Goliath struggle with politicians, corporates, celebrities, journalists, professional and sporting organisations drowning out the voices of ordinary Australians and pressuring everyone to vote Yes.” He also called for unity after a divisive public debate, and made a special plea for religious freedom, saying: “It is imperative that our political leaders enact laws that protect the rights of all, religious believers included.”

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