(BBC)- Gay marriage: Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic poll.
The non-binding postal vote showed 61.6% of people favour allowing same-sex couples to wed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.
Jubilant supporters have been celebrating in public spaces, waving rainbow flags and singing and dancing.
A bill to change the law was introduced into the Senate late on Wednesday. It will now be debated for amendments.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government would aim to pass legislation in parliament by Christmas.
“[Australians] have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality,” Mr Turnbull said after the result was announced.
“They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love.”
The issue only went to a voluntary postal vote after a long and bitter debate about amending Australia’s Marriage Act.
The result on Wednesday brings an end to what was at times a heated campaign. The vote itself had been criticised by same-sex marriage supporters, many of whom said it was unnecessary when parliament could debate the issue directly.
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