There were tears and cheers across Orange as same sex marriage supporters celebrated a resounding Yes vote in the national postal survey.
In the Federal electorate of Calare 54,091 people [60.2 per cent] voted to support legalising same sex marriage while 35,779 [39.8 per cent] voted no – closely following the national vote of 61.6 in favour and 38.4 per cent against.
The Calare Yes vote was higher than the NSW average of 57.8 per cent.
Supporters called on the Federal government to move quickly to legalise same sex marriage.
Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the legislation should pass before Christmas.
“The Parliament now needs to legislate the will of the Australian people and it should do this without delay,” he said.
Tim Hansen, a gay man who has revealed he was bullied daily as he grew up in Orange, joined crowds in a Sydney park for Wednesday’s result announcement.
“I’ve never been in a place where thousands of people all spontaneously burst into tears at the same moment,” he said.
“I won’t forget it for as long as I live.
“I thought of when I was 16.
“It was just the vindication of growing up in a country town, I felt very alone.
“I don’t feel alone now.”
He said he was delighted that the people of Orange had strongly supported the Yes vote.
“I am so proud and rapt to the back teeth. It doesn’t surprise me, Australia has progressed in an enormous way in the past 20 years,” he said.
Orange deputy mayor Cr Joanne McRae said Orange should now be promoted as a destination for same-sex marriage ceremonies.
Two Orange fathers with gay sons said they were delighted with the result.
Nick Hansen, who featured with wife Frances in a national Yes vote advertising campaign in support of son Tim, said it was a positive endorsement of equality.
“I’m feeling very pleased,” he said.
“It’s a real acknowledgment and acceptance from the Australian community.”
Neil Jones said his son Stuart, who grew up in Orange, but now lived in New Zealand with his partner, was delighted.
“Yeah, it means so much to Darren and I,” he messaged Mr Jones.
Mr Jones’ wife Libby said the result brought equality.
“We have a son who is married, a daughter who is married and a son who couldn’t get married,” she said.
Hayley Barrett of Orange said she and her partner would consider marrying as soon as it was legalised.
“Certainly, it would be soon,” she said.
She said she was confident the Yes vote would prevail.
However, she said churches should be given the right to decide whether they would perform same-sex weddings.
Julie Proctor, who has appeared in a current affairs TV program supporting same sex marriage, was cautious after the result.
“It’s a good first step, but it hasn’t changed anything yet,” the Orange woman said.
“I’ll hold back on the champagne until it passes the parliament.”
Orange businessman and same sex marriage advocate Wade Mahlo said it was an historic day for Australia.
“It’s one small step for parliament and it’s a giant step for humanity,” he said.
Mr Mahlo said teenagers dealing with their sexuality faced many personal battles and he hoped the vote would improve their situation.
“The marriage equality vote will take a lot of pressure off people,” he said.
Christian columnist Malcolm Rankin, who voted No, said it did not change his views.
“To me it’s something that I don’t recommend as a way of life,” he said.
Mr Rankin said the legislation should not discriminate against church and independent school curriculums.
“It should be clear, it should not impinge on certain rights because of it.”
March winery owner Peter Mortimer, who hosted a ceremony for his nephew Matt and partner Jason Palmatier, last year, said that while he held conservative views, legalising same sex marriage was long overdue.
“As of today I’ve embraced it, let’s get on with it,” he said.