"Yay" was the first word that entered gay man Warren Henkel's head when he found out the results of the Australian same-sex marriage survey.

The Sydney man has been living in New Zealand for 12 years and always believed marriage equality was missing from his homeland.

The survey's results were a resounding yes with 7.8 million voting in support of same sex marriage and 4.9 million voting against.

A majority "yes" vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 federal electorates across the country, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced in Canberra on Wednesday.

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Henkel said he could now contemplate marriage with his Maori boyfriend of three years. He wasn't sure if they would do it but at least they had the option.

"It's excellent, it's really good.

"Men and women can get married so we've always wondered why can't we get married. It should be equal and now it is."

Sydney gay man Warren Henkel who lives in Auckland after Australia voted 'yes' for same sex marriage. Photo / Doug Sherring
Sydney gay man Warren Henkel who lives in Auckland after Australia voted 'yes' for same sex marriage. Photo / Doug Sherring

It was about time Australia took the huge step forward in human rights, Henkel said. He expected a flood of LGBT people would get married when the law passes. He said it made him proud to be Australian.

"In Australia you've got Mardi Gras, that's huge. Thousands of people come for the Sydney Mardi Gras from all over the world. It's quite a spectacle.

"Now laws are fitting into what Mardi Gras is all about."

Henkel works at the gay bar Family on K Rd. He thought they'd have a busy night tonight.

"They'll be celebrating."

The voluntary postal survey was held between September 12 and November 7 with the results announced on Wednesday.

The postal survey came after 22 attempts to recognise same-sex marriage under federal law in Australia. The survey was estimated to cost $122 million.

A private member's bill will now be debated in Parliament, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pushing for a vote before Christmas.

"It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done," Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people."

Labour MP Louisa Wall, whose bill legalised same-sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013, said she was ecstatic with the news.

Labour MP Louisa Wall, whose bill legalised same-sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013, was ecstatic with the news. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Labour MP Louisa Wall, whose bill legalised same-sex marriage in New Zealand in 2013, was ecstatic with the news. Photo / Mark Mitchell

She urged Australian MPs to follow through on the will of the majority, rather than have a conscience vote.

"It was a non-binding postal survey, but actually the goodwill that was displayed and the trust in the Australian people to make a decision should be followed through in Parliament.

"Now they know what the will of the Australian people is, there is an argument they should just fulfil their wishes."

She said over 60 per cent support for same-sex marriage was a "solid mandate".

"This is a resounding victory for human rights and LGBT rights in Australia because of the level of engagement. That's what we should focus on, that Australians do fundamentally believe in human rights and they do want LGBT citizens to have equal access to civil marriage."

She said the high participation across all age groups was fantastic.

"The vote is about the future, about young people being able to grow up and being able to have what everyone else wants, with the person they want spend their lives with, and to be able to formalise that relationship.

"Those are the building blocks for society."

Kiwi journalist Ali Mau - who was born in Australia - said it was a cause for celebration.

Journalist Ali Mau - pictured with partner Karleen Edmonds - is
Journalist Ali Mau - pictured with partner Karleen Edmonds - is "thrilled" Australia has voted to give LBGTQI people the same rights as everyone else. Photo / File

"I'm thrilled that the country of my birth has finally joined the 24 other countries in the world that recognise the human rights of LGBTQI people...it's fantastic for those who want to be able to celebrate their relationship."

Mau and her partner Karleen Edmonds were engaged in 2012. They plan to marry in New Zealand.

The Australian campaign prior to the referendum had been "very arduous and sometimes very nasty" and has taken its toll on the community, Mau said. "And it's not completely over."

The New Zealand Cross Party Rainbow Parliamentary Network welcomed the results of the postal survey.

"While it's not ideal to make the rights of a minority dependent on the will of the majority, it is wonderful to see so many Australians voting for equality for LGBTIQ people", Green MP Jan Logie said.

"We know from experience in New Zealand that this legislation can change people's lives when they have the ability to marry the person they love," National MP Nikki Kaye added.

Acting Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand Andrew Cumpston said he could not comment on the result but the voter turnout was great.

"It was a positive result with such a high participation rate."

Cumpston complimented the Australian Bureau of Statistics for engaging voters from all over the world.