For veteran LGBTI campaigner Rodney Croome, Wednesday morning was a long time coming.
“I am elated and exhausted, but most of all overjoyed,” Mr Croome told The New Daily from Hobart, a few hours after Australia voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage.
Asked how he would have felt about Wednesday’s result nearly 30 years ago when began campaigning, his reply was stark a reminder of “how far we’ve come”.
“I would have been incredulous,” he said. “29 and a half years ago, I was a criminal.”
He was one of the many Australians who waited for Wednesday’s result with bated breath.
Here’s how some of the other key campaigners reacted – and here’s a wrap of the historic day.
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister
“The people have voted ‘yes’ for marriage equality, now it’s our job to deliver it.”
Mr Turnbull is one of the Parliament’s longest standing same-sex marriage supporters. His government established the voluntary postal survey.
Bill Shorten, Opposition Leader
“It may have been 61 per cent who voted yes in the survey, but I want to say to all LGBTIQ Australians, you are 100 per cent loved, 100 per cent valued – and after the next two weeks of parliament – 100 percent able to marry the person you love.”
Mr Shorten and Labor opposed the survey, heeding the calls of LGBT groups. Labor had promised to legislate same-sex marriage if elected.
Tony Abbott, former PM
““The people have spoken and, of course, the parliament should respect the result.
“So far, this process has been a credit to us as a nation and now needs to be completed in a way that keeps us the best country in the world.”
Mr Abbott was perhaps the most prominent ‘No’ advocate, famously arguing that a ‘No’ vote was a vote against political correctness. His electorate, Warringah, voted ‘Yes’ at a level of 75 per cent.
Penny Wong, Labor senator
Senator Wong is in a long-term relationship with her partner, Sophie Allouache. They have two children together.
Christine Forster, prominent Yes campaigner
“We’ve done the right thing, we’ve voted for a fairer, better, more equal Australia. What a moment.”
Ms Forster, a Sydney Liberal councillor and Tony Abbott’s sister, has already announced plans to marry her partner Virginia next February.
Lyle Shelton, prominent ‘No’ campaigner
“When in Australia did we get to the point where we are going to coerce people to go their sincerely held belief.That’s not the Australia I grew up in.”
Mr Shelton, the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, has turned his attention to religious protections in the bill to legalise same-sex marriage.
Magda Szubanksi, comedian
“When the announcement finally came through it was the most incredible relief, and joy, and feeling of love, and just sadness that we’ve been through this.”
Comedian Magda Szubanski became one of the ‘Yes’ campaign’s most prominent voices.
Pansy Lai, ‘No’ campaigner
“During the campaign people who expressed a belief in traditional marriage have been targeted and I am concerned those people will not be protected.”
Sydney doctor Pansy Lai rose to prominence after she appeared in a ‘No’ ad during the campaign.