Alexandrina Council Deputy Mayor Madeleine Walker discusses Australia voting in favour of marriage equality

Same-sex couples could soon have to right to legally marry in Australia after the results of the voluntary plebiscite revealed 61.6 per cent the nation voted in favour of marriage equality.

LOVE IS LOVE: Port Elliot resident and Deputy Mayor of Alexandrina Council Madeleine Walker with her wife Joanne Payne and their dog Rosie celebrating the result of the same-sex marriage vote. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

LOVE IS LOVE: Port Elliot resident and Deputy Mayor of Alexandrina Council Madeleine Walker with her wife Joanne Payne and their dog Rosie celebrating the result of the same-sex marriage vote. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

The results, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday, also showed that 64.7 per cent of people in the Mayo electorate voted yes.

The remaining 35.3pc, which accounts for 31,247 people, voted against.

Mayo was also the second most responsive electorate in the state with 83.8pc of votes returned, just behind Boothby with 84.3pc.

Port Elliot resident Madeleine Walker and wife Joanne Payne were married in the British High Commission in Sydney in 2015.

But, sadly, once the wedding was over, the couple’s marriage was no longer recognised in the country they call home.

Ms Walker said yesterday was an incredibly important day.

“The result of this vote means I have great hope for young people of the future with diverse sexuality,” she said.

“It means times really have changed and the community accepts and welcomes us now.”

The Alexandrina Councillor said the yes vote also meant she could serve as Deputy Mayor without having to hide who she is.

She said homosexual people were in a better place now than they were two days ago.

“I’ve lost too many friends to suicide because they were persecuted… bullied, beaten, harassed and arrested for being who they are.”

“But now they know that more than half of people are behind them.”

Ms Walker said just because the public voted in favor of legalising same-sex marriage, that did not mean the government would listen.

“I don’t think the Turnbull government has the stomach to handle the criticism they may receive if they legalise it… the vote wasn’t to change the Marriage Act, it was just to see what people thought,” she said.

She said marriage should considered a legal institution not a religious institution.

“One thing that’s been sad about this campaign, has been that marriage has been talked about like its a religious institution when it should be separated from the state,” she said.

“Marriage is about a commitment to be faithful to a person and stick by them in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

If given the chance, Ms Walker said she would re-marry the woman she loves to see their commitment recognised in Australia.

Legislation around same-sex marriage was expected to be introduced into Parliament yesterday and will be debated in the coming weeks.