Australians Back Legalizing Gay Marriage in Nationwide Vote

The Senate could begin debating changes to the Marriage Act as early as this week if the'Yes vote comes out on top

Almost 80 per cent of eligible Australians took part in the voluntary poll and the outcome will be announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 10am on Wednesday.

More than 16 million surveys were sent out across Australia by the ABS, allowing people to have their say in the postal plebiscite.

Prominent conservative lawmakers urged people to vote against "political correctness", and argued that marriage equality could undermine family values and see radical sexuality and gender programmes rolled out in schools.

At 9.00am AEST this morning, Australian's will know the official result of the same-sex marriage postal survey. Coalition parliamentarians, who were previously required to vote against marriage equality will now be given a free vote, Labor MPs are nearly universally in favour and a majority of crossbenchers will also support the bill.

There is also a strongly-held view among moderate Liberals that, having lost the vote, opponents of same-sex marriage have no right to dictate what the law should look like.

"It think it indicates what modern Australia is", he told Sky News.

Mr Turnbull's decision to use a private member's bill means there could be multiple bills put to the parliament, rather than a unified government proposal. "I don't believe Australians would welcome, and certainly the government would not countenance, making legal discrimination that is illegal, that is unlawful, today", he said Monday.

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"Senator Canavan has been part of a group inside the Liberal Party who have fought tooth and nail not to bring this into the parliament", she told ABC radio.

A private bill, proposed by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith, has been labelled the "starting point" by senior government ministers.

'Australians voted for equality.

Conservatives who backed the Paterson Bill are now shifting their focus to amendments on the Smith Bill, in recognition they do not have the numbers in Parliament.

Paterson's bill could override all anti-discrimination laws passed by state and territory level legislatures. While the No campaign was off to a flying start in the early weeks of the survey, it only secured 27 per cent support among those who already voted.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said everything Senator Canavan said needed to be judged against his intention to "loudly and aggressively" campaign against marriage equality.

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