AUSTRALIA has overwhelmingly voted for same-sex marriage, with 61.6 per cent voting in favour.
Results of the non-binding vote were greeted with jubilation by crowds who took to the streets waving rainbow banners or donning their wedding dresses.
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said: ‘Australians have voted Yes for fairness, they have voted Yes for commitment, they have voted Yes for love.
‘Now it’s up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it; to get on with the job the people have asked us to do and get it done this year, before Christmas.’
The Yes campaign won across all six states in Australia, with a majority ranging from 64.9 per cent in Victoria to 57.8 per cent in New South Wales. Overall, 7,817,247 voted Yes, while 4,873,987 opposed the idea. With a turnout of 79.5 per cent, the vote was bigger than both the UK’s Brexit referendum and the US presidential election.
Irish-born Australian Alan Joyce, who is the chief executive of flag carrier airline Qantas, was proud of Ireland when they voted to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, but said: ‘Today, I am even more proud of Australia, my country of selection.’
Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who backed the No campaign, said: ‘While disappointed by the result, I am heartened by the strong No vote in the face of such a relentless campaign from the Yes campaign by the media, political elites and celebrities.’
China called on to ban its ‘conversion treatments’
HOSPITALS in China should stop subjecting gay people to conversion therapy using electric shocks, involuntary confinement and forced medication, a human rights group is urging.
Homosexuality was removed from China’s list of mental illnesses more than 15 years ago but stories of families enrolling relatives in treatment seeking to change their sexuality remain common.
New York-based Human Rights Watch interviewed 17 people subjected to techniques such as patients being called ‘sick’, ‘pervert’, and ‘dirty’ by doctors. Some had ‘aversion therapy’, where they were forced to take nausea-inducing medication while watching gay porn.
Gay rights activist Yang Teng said a doctor at a private clinic, which can charge up to £3,400, gave him an electric shock to his finger when told to remember a time he had sex with a man. ‘The experience left a deep psychological impact on me,’ he said.