When will the first same-sex marriages take place in Australia?

Australians should “expect” the first same-sex marriages by Christmas, following its nationwide ballot.

Almost 13 million (79.5%) Australians voted in the postal survey on marriage equality, with 61.6% voting Yes.

12,727,920 people responded to the survey, with 61.6% voting Yes and 38.4 percent voting No.

The resounding victory has been welcomed by LGBT activists, politicians and world leaders, with many No campaigners admitting it should now be passed into law.

Senator Janet Rice, draped in a rainbow scarf, asked the government: “Can loving couples, regardless of their gender or sexuality, be assured that they will be able to marry, and that we will be able to hear wedding bells, by Christmas?”

Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Malcolm Tunrbull, Senator George Brandis QC announced: “I am not in a position to tell you the date of commencement of the amendments to the Marriage Act should the parliament pass them.

“Though I would like to see the amending act proclaimed as soon as possible and I hope that will be before Christmas, and I expect it will be.”

Mr Turnbull said Australians “voted yes for fairness, they voted yes for commitment, they voted yes for love”.

He added “now it is up to us – here in the Parliament of Australia… that must be our commitment.”

The national vote, which cost $122m, was not binding, meaning it remains up to parliament to approve legislation.

Monday is the first day that a bill can be tabled in the House of Representatives, which is not sitting this week.

A bill must pass in both houses before it can be signed into law by the Governor-General.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

The standard waiting time for legislation to take effect is 30 days.

However, this could be longer if the Government decides that celebrants and other officials need more time to get acquainted with the new law.

A handful of hardline anti-LGBT MPs within the governing Liberal-National Coalition have also said they will not be conceding, despite the clear will of Australians to pass marriage equality.

Two bills will be proposed to parliament – one by Senator Dean Smith proposing simply to introduce the other measure, and another by Senator James Paterson proposing same-sex marriage, but with various “religious freedoms”.

However the latter bill, which would roll back anti-discrimination laws, has been dealt a blow after former PM and marriage equality opponent Tony Abbott endorsed its rival.

He wrote in a statement: “I look forward to a parliamentary process that improves on the Dean Smith bill to implement same sex marriage with freedom of conscience for all, not just the churches.”

It now seems certain same-sex marriages will be passed.