By Darren Coyne, with AAP
It started low and built up to a crescendo … Yes, Yes, Yes … YES!!!.
‘Sounds like an orgasm,’ former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell quipped to the 300-strong crowd gathered in the quadrangle of the new Lismore Regional Gallery for the official announcement of the marriage equality vote.
And when the offical number came through – 61.6 per cent – the crowd erupted with satisfaction, relief, and cheers.
‘This is a start,’ Ms Dowell said. ‘We have a strong yes vote now it is up to our parliament to do what they said they would do which is honour this survey result.’
‘They have the power to bring in marriage equality before Christmas. We will hold them to it because there are people in this community who have been waiting years and years.’
‘Won’t Lismore go wild when we have our first same sex marriage?’.
Yes, roared the crowd.
Across the nation, a majority ‘yes’ vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 federal electorates.
Every state and territory recorded a majority ‘Yes’ result. NSW had the lowest result at 57.8 per cent.
In the Page electorate, 59.7 per cent voted yes, while 40.3 per cent voted no.
In the Richmond electorate, 67.9 per cent voted yes and 32.1 per cent voted no.
Both electorates voted above the state average of 57.8 per cent.
More than 12.7 million people – nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters – took part in the survey.
Of those, 7.8 million voted ‘yes’ and 4.9 million said ‘No’.
Shortly after the announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he wanted federal parliament to approve same-sex marriage laws before Christmas.
‘It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done,’ the prime minister said.
‘I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people.”
‘We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming.’
Back in Lismore, the celebration in the quadrangle culminated with people dressed in rainbow colours forming a large heart for a photo to be taken by a drone.
Local coordinator of the Yes campaign, Asren Pugh thanked everyone who had lobbied for the yes vote.
‘People like you in the community who made over 800,000 phone calls to complete strangers to ask them to do the right thing and support basic human rights.
‘Thanks to everyone who put a placard on their fence or raised the rainbow flag.’
‘He gave particular thanks to young people who probably used a post box for the first time to post their yes ballot back.’
MC Tommy Mu had earlier jokingly pointed out that the vote would have been unnecessary if straight people stopped having gay babies, and dismissed the suggestion from conversatives that a yes vote would rip the fabric of society.
‘I don’t know of any gay person who would harm fabric.’
Meanwhile in Ballina, Greens MP Tamara Smith MP welcomed the result.
The ABS asked ‘Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?’ and reports that 61.6% of those surveyed responded ‘Yes’.
‘This is a fantastic result for civil rights in our country – I hope the Federal Government acts quickly to now enable same sex couples to get legally married and give them the same rights as other married couples.’.
‘Saying ‘yes’ to change and to equality for same sex couples is something Australians can be proud of and is a reflection on the long campaign for civil rights by the LGBTIQ community.’
“My thanks go to all those in the Ballina electorate who worked to achieve this historic result,” said Ms Smith.