JOY, laughter and a few tears filled the air in Machattie Park as people gathered to mark an historic moment in Australia’s history.
Just after 10am on Wednesday the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, David Kalisch, announced that Australia had voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
The postal survey had been controversial from the start, but in the end 12.72 million people (79.5 per cent of eligible voters) cast their vote, with 61.6 per cent of the country ticking the yes box.
In Calare, the result was similar with 60.2 per cent of voters saying yes.
While the survey is non-binding, and only a guide for politicians on how they will treat the issue in parliament, the celebration in Bathurst was instant.
Sophie Meredith and her partner Alison Gerard were at an impromptu celebration in Machattie Park and said they were “over the moon” with the result.
“We’re just really proud to live in this area and just really grateful to the people of Bathurst for showing their support for equality,” Ms Gerard said.
“It’s hugely significant for us, it means that we can get married.”
Andy Wheeler was at the celebration and said the result not only meant equality, but also acceptance by the Australian people.
“This has certainly shown that the majority of people are indeed our friends, and even those that we haven’t met personally have certainly voted for us and we say thank you,” he said.
Brian Woodhouse was also at Machattie Park and said the yes result was an important new stage in the development of marriage.
“It simply reinforces that marriage is a changing institution, it always has been,” he said.
It’s hugely significant for us, it means that we can get married.Alison Gerard
Grandmother Marie Smart celebrated on behalf of her grandson Dillon Shaw and his partner Lew Southern.
“The yes vote is just the best news we’ve had in years and years,” she said. “He has a partner he’s been wanting to marry and now it can happen.”
Terry Cass and his partner Neil Car were excited by the results, but said they were interested to see what politicians would do next.
“Neil and I have a very big wedding to start organising and arranging now,” he said.
“It’s been a long 10-year engagement and we can’t wait to have our day.
“We are also very overwhelmed with the Calare electorate voting 60.2 yes. Thank you everyone.”
Richard Perram said the result signaled that Australia was an inclusive country.
“I think the percentage is really great, because Tony Abbot felt he had a moral victory if he got 40 per cent [to vote no], well unfortunately he only got 38 per cent,” he said.
But, Mr Perram said there would still be “more battles” before same-sex couples could marry.
“I don’t think it’s over yet because I think there are conservative elements in the parliament that are going to try and water things down, but I think their days are numbered,” he said.