Same-sex couples could be able to tie the knot before Christmas, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vows.
"It is our job now to get on with it, and get this done," the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday, shortly after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced a 61.6 per cent 'yes' vote.
"I say to all Australians, whatever your views on this issue may be, we must respect the voice of the people."
"We asked them for their opinion and they have given it to us. It is unequivocal, it is overwhelming."
A majority 'yes' vote was recorded in 133 of the 150 federal electorates across the country. Every state and territory recorded a majority 'yes' vote above 60 per cent, bar NSW where 57.8 of people voted 'yes'. More than 12.7 million people - nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters - took part in the survey.
Now Parliamentary debate to legalise same-sex marriage begins.
A cross-party group of senators - led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, amongst others - will introduce a private bill to the upper house on Wednesday afternoon.
This means debate could start on Thursday morning, the Senate's usual time for considering private bills.
Senator Smith, who initially opposed a popular vote on the issue, said the result was the "most important electoral mandate we have seen".
"It is now up to parliament to do what it has always been expected to do - and that is to legislate," he told reporters.