Australians decisively support same-sex marriage

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Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate the result in Melbourne

Australians have voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic non-binding poll.

The vote showed 61.6% of people favour allowing same-sex couples to wed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

More than 12.7 million people - about 79.5% of eligible voters - took part in the eight-week postal survey.

PM Malcolm Turnbull said the "overwhelming" result meant his government would aim to change the law in parliament before Christmas.

"[Australians] have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality," he said after the result was announced.

"They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love. And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it."

Supporters began celebrating the result in public spaces across Australia on Wednesday, waving rainbow flags and singing and dancing.

Mr Turnbull, a same-sex marriage supporter, is facing debate within his government over what the parliamentary bill should include.

Some conservative MPs are pushing for the the bill to include exemptions that would allow businesses opposed to same-sex marriage to refuse goods and services for weddings.

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