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Australians have voted to legalise same sex marriage in a national survey.

Some 61.6% of voters supported their country becoming the 26th nation to legalise same-sex marriage, with 38.4% opposing.

The poll is non-binding but the government had promised to allow parliament to consider a bill to create marriage equality in Australia during its final two-week session, which is due to end on 7 December.

This means that a law allowing same-sex marriage could be a reality by Christmas, which would see Australia joining other countries such as the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Almost 80% of eligible voters participated in the voluntary postal survey.

Following the announcement of the result, there were street parties in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne.

At a gathering in Sydney, Alex Greenwich, co-chair of the Equality Campaign said: “Love has had a landslide victory.”

In comments reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, he continued: “Getting to this point has not been easy, but rarely in your life can you celebrate with such pride overcoming adversity to make history.”

Each of Australia’s states and territories votes ‘yes’ by more than 60%, except for New South Wales (57.8%).

The ACT (Australian Capital Territory) had the highest ‘yes’ vote (74%), followed by the state of Victoria (64.9%).

Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Twitter: “The people of Australia have spoken and I intend to make their wish the law of the land by Christmas.

“This is an overwhelming call for marriage equality.”

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Australians back gay marriage in non-binding vote