Australians have emphatically voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, saying "yes" to the historic social change by a substantial margin of 61.6 per cent to 38.4 per cent.
After years of political stagnation, the public has now tasked the Turnbull government with changing the law before Christmas to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Almost 80 per cent of eligible voters participated in the unprecedented voluntary postal survey, giving the verdict an authority unmatched by most elections globally.
It means Australia is poised to join 25 other countries that have granted marriage equality to gay couples, including the US, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
At street parties across the country, gay and lesbian Australians cheered, danced and embraced as the results were announced by the chief statistician on Wednesday. "Love has had a landslide victory," declared Alex Greenwich, co-chair of the Equality Campaign, from a public gathering in Sydney, where John Paul Young's classic Love Is In The Air was played.
"Getting to this point has not been easy, but rarely in your life can you celebrate with such pride overcoming adversity to make history."
Gay Liberal senator Dean Smith, who spearheaded action for same-sex marriage within the Coalition but opposed the public vote, declared it "the most important electoral mandate" Australia had ever seen.
"This is by any and every measure a huge democratic achievement for our country," he said. "I have never been more proud to stand up and represent Australian people than I was this morning when I listened to that result."
Gay Labor frontbencher Penny Wong, who pushed her own party to change its position on same-sex marriage, was hugged by colleagues in a room in Parliament House as they watched the results announced. "Today we celebrate, tomorrow we legislate."
"In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error" (Romans 1:27).