Australians officially want same-sex marriage — and they may finally get it

After years of resistance from the government, Australia is on track towards marriage equality. In a non-binding, government-sponsored postal survey, 61.6 percent of Australians were in favor of same-sex marriage.

But the battle is not won yet. In order to legalize same-sex marriage, the Australian parliament needs to amend the Australian Marriage Act of 2004, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. A bill to amend the law was introduced to the Senate on November 15th, following the announcement of the poll’s results.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his administration would try to pass the legislation by Christmas.

"Australians have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality," Turnbull said in a statement. "They voted yes for commitment, yes for fairness, yes for love."

Though unofficial opinion polls in Australia have long shown support for same-sex marriage, the government has historically been opposed to the idea. In fact, one of the main reasons the recent survey was done via mail is because the current administration could not get budgetary approval for a more formal public vote. However, as noted by Tiernan Brady, executive director at Australia’s Equality Campaign, Australia has a higher public approval rating for same-sex marriage than some countries where same-sex marriage is already legal — so it’s high time for reform.

After the many obstacles marriage equality has faced in Australia in recent years, the survey results are a solid step towards change. Although some conservative Australian lawmakers will likely fight the impending reforms, for now we should celebrate the fact that Australia is one step closer to equality.