Australia has become the second nation, after Ireland, to vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.
At 61.5%, the vote in favour was slightly less than the 62.1% recorded in the
2015 referendum here but is more convincing in that the poll was almost 80% of those eligible to partake, compared to Ireland’s 60.5% of voters.
While the postal poll was not a referendum under the constitution of Australia and, therefore, is not binding on either the government or states, it is considered unthinkable that parliament would not enact laws to give it effect.
The popular vote was, however, more controversial in Australia than in Ireland. The whole process lasted two months, reflecting a lengthy and bruising campaign on both sides.
Both the Irish referendum and the Australian vote reflect a growing consensus among the citizens of liberal democratic states that civil marriage should be available to all adults who wish it, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
We in Ireland can take a certain amount of pride in flying the rainbow flag and paving the way for marriage equality.
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