Video: Australians support legalizing gay marriage; issue heads to Parliament


(CNN) — Australians may have overwhelmingly voted “yes” in the same-sex marriage survey, but the battle over marriage equality isn’t over yet.

All that needs to be changed to make same-sex marriage legal is a tweak to the Australian Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says that could happen by Christmas but conservative politicians are pushing hard for extensive religious protections in any bill legalizing marriage equality, to shield “no” supporters and Christians, which could stall the bill’s progress.

“Protecting fundamental freedoms — freedoms such as parental rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and conscientious objection will be vital to alleviate the valid concerns of millions of Australians,” vocal same-sex marriage opponent Liberal Party Senator Eric Abetz said in a statement after the result.

In total, 61.6% of Australians voted in favor of changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, according to results announced Wednesday, while 38.4% voted against.

More than 12 million people cast their votes, a turnout of 79.5%, and the “yes” vote won a majority in every state and territory, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“They voted yes for love, and now it is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do,” Turnbull said Wednesday morning.

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