Australia wants same-sex marriage. Here's what happens next

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 07:53:48 AM. The results of the same-sex marriage postal survey are in, and it's now up to Parliament to do the heavy lifting.

A woman puts a ring on the finger of another woman at a rally. Photo: The Yes campaign won. So how long until Australians can start planning gay weddings? (AAP: David Crosling)

Australians have voted 61.6 per cent in favour of same-sex marriage.

But it isn't the end of the story. It's now up to Federal Parliament to take the results of the survey and debate any legislation.

When will that happen?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants same-sex marriage legalised by Christmas.

The process could kick off as early as Thursday, with two bills being presented to the Senate.

Both are drafted by Liberals, but they have very different ideals.

Why two bills?

WA Liberal senator Dean Smith's bill is widely supported. Many argue it strikes the right balance between allowing same-sex couples to marry and protecting religious freedoms. Labor and the Greens have said they would support it.

But Victorian Liberal senator James Paterson's bill takes "protections" to the next level.

It's divided those in the Coalition. Those in favour of the Paterson bill argue it shouldn't only be religious ministers and civil celebrants who can object to taking part in same-sex weddings, but also people like bakers who may be called upon to make a cake.

How will that change the timing?

Mr Turnbull said the Paterson bill had little prospect of success.

If it doesn't see the light of day, it could be used as the basis for conservatives to frustrate debate on the Smith bill with a series of amendments.

That could make a Christmas deadline hard to meet, but supporters of change will resist delaying tactics.

So how will politicians vote?

This is another doozy of an issue.

Some politicians have said they'd vote based on the result of the survey nationally or in their electorates.

Others would still vote with their consciences — in other words, even if they were a No voter, the results of the survey would not change their minds.

Check out how each of the pollies intend to vote on a same-sex marriage bill.

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