YES or NO: How tomorrow's same-sex result will play out

THERE are less than 24 hours until we know the result of the three-month slog that has been the Australian marriage law postal survey.

If you take into account all the argy-bargy leading up to the survey itself, it's been years since we started debating the issue.

But Wednesday is D-Day.

Here's what to expect on the day itself and immediately following the result.




Results announcement minus one hour. The doors will open to Yes campaign events in capital cities across the east coast including Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

If you're in Adelaide or Brisbane, events begin at 8am local time and in Perth a yawn-inducing 6.30am.

More details can be found at the Equality Campaign website.

If you're looking for a public No event, good luck with that one. The campaign says it isn't holding any.




The man with the golden envelope, containing the final tally, will be Australian Statistician David W. Kalisch.

Ahead of the public announcement, Mr Kalisch will inform Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, as well as a select number of representatives from both the Yes and No camps.

A poll in the Australian on Tuesday, the last before results day, showed the Yes vote on 63 per cent, a figure that has edged up as the campaign has continued.

Yes voters will be hoping the polls are accurate, and not some Brexit-style aberration.

The No camp will, of course, be hoping for the exact opposite. But they would settle for a result over 40 per cent. Tony Abbott has said this would be a "moral" victory - if not, you know, an "actual" victory.



The big announcement. Live from the glamorous Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra, Mr Kalisch will reveal the result.

As well as the straight Yes and No numbers, he will also detail the results for each age group, state and federal electorate. If it's a Yes, this last bit will be key for wavering MPs, some of who could decide to follow their electorate rather than the national vote. will be on the ground with live updates of the result.



Ilya Artemenko and Alexander Grishyn at Turtle Cove. They are hoping to get married if the same sex marriage plebiscite is successful . PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS
Ilya Artemenko and Alexander Grishyn at Turtle Cove. They are hoping to get married if the same sex marriage plebiscite is successful . PICTURE: ANNA ROGERS

Cue a lot of celebrating and a fair few wedding proposals.

At around 5pm, the giant rainbow flag, which flutters above Taylor Square in the heart of Sydney's LGBTI neighbourhood of Darlinghurst, will be raised to mark the result.

But there's no time for hangovers because, even with a Yes vote, the law isn't legalised.




A Yes will see pro-same-sex marriage advocates desert their campaign bases in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and elsewhere to head en masse to Canberra to push for a law change.

It's possible that on Thursday, two competing same-sex marriage bills could be tabled in the Senate.

Talking to last month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was hopeful marriage equality would be legal "by Christmas".


Whether that happens will depend on what shape a new law will take. The crucial sticking point is who should be exempt from officiating or providing services for same-sex weddings.

Labor, the Greens and many in the Coalition are backing a bill from Liberal Senator Dean Smith that will exempt religious ministers and celebrants as well as religious organisations from being involved in weddings.

A rival bill, by fellow Liberal Senator James Paterson, is backed by the conservative wing of the Liberals and Nationals and extends those opt outs to anyone with a business who has a "conscientious" objections to same-sex marriage and adds a section on schooling. Registrars could even refuse to issue marriage certificates to a gay couples under the proposal.

Yes campaigners are dead set against this second bill saying it will roll back Australia's anti-discrimination laws and could allow shops to put up signs saying "no gays".




This is the first day either bill could be tabled in the House of Representatives. A same-sex marriage bill has to pass both the Reps and the Senate before it can be made law by the Governor-General.

How politicians choose to vote is, ultimately, up to them. Every Green is in favour as are most Labor MPs but the Coalition is far more divided.

An ABC analysis found at least six MPs, including Kevin Andrews and Bob Katter, will vote No even if Australia votes Yes. A further 36 did not reveal their vote while around 30 said their vote would depend on factors including religious exemptions and how their electorate voted.

Nevertheless, if the public voted Yes, around 70 per cent of both houses should follow suit.




The final day either the Reps or Senate sits in 2017. If a same-sex marriage bill isn't approved by then, despite Mr Turnbull's wishes, it won't be happening by Christmas. That is unless parliament chooses to continue sitting until a deal is nutted out.



Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi has said parliament should sort out the citizenship crisis before ruling on marriage.

However, there seems to be little legal impediment for making a law change sooner rather than later.

Anti same-sex marriage politician Cory Bernardi believes the citizenship crisis engulfing the Parliament should be resolved before it moves to change laws on same-sex marriage.
Anti same-sex marriage politician Cory Bernardi believes the citizenship crisis engulfing the Parliament should be resolved before it moves to change laws on same-sex marriage. Bev Lacey




If same-sex marriage is legalised before Christmas, this is the very earliest marriages are likely to happen given the standard 30-day waiting period.

However, it's very possible that, even with swift passage of the bill, the first wedding ceremonies could be some months away with the Government likely to allow several months for celebrants and others to get acquainted with the new law.




There will be much misery from the Yes camp and cheers will soar from many a local church.

Mr Turnbull has said the issue will be then be off the table.

The result wouldn't preclude a private members' bill being introduced but its likelihood of success in the face of a public No vote would be limited.

However, if Labor wins the next election all bets could be off. The party has committed to tabling a bill in its first 100 days in office.

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