Australians overwhelmingly expressed support for marriage equality. Now what?

Joe Spagnolo believes many people have had enough of the same-sex marriage debate

Same-Sex Marriage: 'Yes' Victory In Sight As Opponents Circle The Wagons

The result of Australia's non-binding same-sex marriage vote is now just hours away.

Yes voters have their fingers crossed the polls are accurate and not some Brexit or Trump-style aberration.

Some 61.6 percent of the more than 12 million people who took part in the government-run postal survey backed marriage equality, with 38.4 percent against, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced on Wednesday.

The latest polls suggest more than 60 per cent of people have voted yes.

Parliamentary opponents of same-sex marriage such as Matt Canavan and Cory Bernardi are standing firm.

Almost 80% 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 (local time). At 10am on the dot, we'll know whether Australia voted Yes on same-sex marriage.

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Nevertheless, discussions are well under underway as to how same-sex marriage might be legislated.

Liberal senator Dean Smith, a gay man who fought publicly and within the Coalition for same-sex marriage, released a bill earlier this year that would legalise same-sex marriage and provides protections for religious freedom.

Australians have voted yes on marriage equality.

It will be supported by Labor and the Greens even though the minor party plans to present amendments.

"It is a process that we have to conclude by Christmas if we're going to keep faith with the Australian people", Mr Zimmerman said.

If Turnbull has fumbled a basic human rights issue that other comparable countries like New Zealand have already resolved just to appease a conservative but vocal minority faction fronted by ex-PM Tony Abbott, then he will have miscalculated the generosity Australians feel towards his increasingly tenuous government.

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We're less than an hour out from learning the result of the same-sex marriage survey and campaign events are getting under way.

"A yes vote can not and should not and must not become a moment where others try to unravel existing anti-discrimination law", he said.

Labor Senator Penny Wong, who has co-signed Senator Smith's bill, said Senator Paterson's proposal was a "distraction".

Two men kiss as they participate in an event supporting a "yes" vote in the postal survey.

"The simple message now is: pass the law", said Tiernan Brady, leader of the Marriage Equality campaign.

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