THE people of Australia have spoken, and they have spoken loudly.
The results of the postal plebiscite into same-sex marriage returned a 61.6 per cent yes vote with an incredible 79.5 per cent of the population taking the time to have their say.
For an optional survey, and one that carried no binding powers, that is remarkable. It is a greater turnout than even last year’s Brexit vote which stands to dramatically change the future of the UK.
The Australian people have shown they believe the time has come for marriage equality in our country and it is now up to federal parliament to deliver it.
For Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Wednesday’s result was a single spark of good news in what has been a horror month for this government and his leadership.
The ongoing citizenship crisis – and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally’s decision to run for Labor in the Bennelong by-election – threaten to oust him from The Lodge earlier than he would have hoped or expected.
But at least now he can point to a single social victory during his term, even if it cost an unnecessary $122 million to achieve it.
Mr Turnbull’s ascension to the nation’s top job brought real hope that marriage equality would arrive sooner rather than later for Australian same-sex couples but the unholy deal he cut with the conservatives within his party to take the leadership muddied those waters.
So rather than bringing on a quick, easy and inexpensive vote in parliament, Mr Turnbull was forced to impose a cumbersome postal plebiscite on the community that gave an unwelcome voice to the politics of hate.
But now is not the time to dwell on the many flaws in this process.
Now is not the time to worry that the conservative right within the parliament might still be planning a roadblock or two to further delay the inevitable.
And now is not the time for too much analysis of the political fallout of Wednesday’s historic result.
Now is a time for celebration and a time for congratulation.
It is a time to take stock and to take some pride in our nation that has finally shown itself ready to enter a modern world of marriage equality. It is a time to celebrate love, and a time to celebrate marriage.
We may have taken the wrong road to get here, but we made it in the end.