Australia has followed Ireland in voting in favour of legalising same-sex marriage by 61.6% to 38.4%.
The postal survey saw 16 million registered voters among Australia’s population of 24 million asked for their views on overturning the prohibition.
With a turnout of 79.5%, the vote had a bigger turnout than the Brexit referendum and US presidential election.
As the majority voted in favour, the parliament will vote by December on legislation to lift the prohibition.
Australian statistician David Kalisch announced the results in the country’s capital Canberra, with 7,817,247 of the ballots cast saying yes, compared to 4,873,987 opposed to the idea.
Across all six states in Australia, the yes vote won – ranging from 64.9% in Victoria to 57.8% in New South Wales – and both the Northern Territory (60.6%) and Australian Capital Territory (74%) voted in favour of the proposal.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the results at a press conference in Canberra, and said it was time for Parliament to act on the wishes of the nation.
He 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.
“That must be our commitment.”
He added: “We asked the Australian people for their view. This was an unprecedented exercise in democracy, a voluntary survey in which 80% participated and over 61%, 61.6%, have said yes.
“That’s an overwhelming participation rate and an overwhelming yes vote.
“I know that many people – a minority obviously – voted no.
“But we are a fair nation – there’s nothing more Australian than a fair go, than equality, than mutual respect.”
Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who backed the No campaign, said: “The decision by the Australian people reflected in the postal survey is a decision that I regret but respect.
“Changing a fundamental societal institution that pre-existed the nation-state is something which should rightly be decided by the people as a whole and it has been with a very strong turnout despite claims from many quarters that this process would fail.
“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.
“The voices of the millions of ‘no’ voters deserve to be recognised in the framing of any legislation.
“A hubristic winner-takes-all approach in this matter would ignore the will of millions of Australians who have concerns about changing marriage.”
The chief executive of Australian flag carrier Qantas urged Malcolm Turnbull to “get on with” legislating.
Alan Joyce, an Irish-born Australian described as a “passionate advocate for LGBT+ rights”, said he was proud of Ireland when they voted to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015.
Addressing a Yes campaign event in Sydney, he said: “But today I am even more proud of Australia, my country of selection.
“This is an amazing outcome and we should all be proud of this amazing country.”