SYDNEY — The majority of Australians support the country becoming the 26th nation to legalize same-sex marriage, the results of a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.
More than three quarters of the country's eligible voters took part in the non-compulsory survey. The poll is non-binding but the government has pledged to put a proposal to parliament if voters were in favor of same-sex marriage.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said 61.6 percent of voters cast their ballots in support of same-sex marriage, with 38.4 percent opposing.
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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday his government will seek to pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriage by the end of the year after a majority of voters supported the move in a non-compulsory survey.
"The Australian people have tasked us to get this done. This year, before Christmas — that must be our commitment," Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.
“With the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ laws and crackdowns around the world, citizens of Australia stood up for fairness and equality by supporting the right for everyone to marry the person they love,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO, wrote in a statement. “Now it is on the Australian government to heed the will of its people and pass fully equal marriage without exemptions.”
Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global, also emphasized the importance of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
“It’s crucial that loving, committed same-sex couples in Australia have the same rights and protections that come with marriage. We urge the Australian Parliament to take swift action ensuring marriage equality becomes the law of the land," he in a statement.
Darren Hayes, a musician who was the lead singer for the band Savage Garden, offered congratulations but also expressed frustration.
"Finally equality in Australia. Shameful that the government forced its citizens to beg, plead and compete for what is a basic human right," Hayes wrote on Twitter, where he also blasted the "122 million dollars wasted on a survey begging our politicians to do what most Australians have been asking for, for many years."