The result of Australia's non-binding same-sex marriage vote is now just hours away.
Some 61.6 percent of the more than 12 million people who took part in the government-run postal survey backed marriage equality, with 38.4 percent against, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced on Wednesday.
Various opinion polls point to a majority "yes" vote, possibly as high as 60 per cent.
There is also a strongly-held view among moderate Liberals that, having lost the vote, opponents of same-sex marriage have no right to dictate what the law should look like.
Almost 80 per cent of eligible Australians took part in the voluntary poll, a return rate that compares more than favorably with the 91 per cent who voted at the compulsory 2016 federal election.
Prominent conservative lawmakers urged people to vote against "political correctness", and argued that marriage equality could undermine family values and see radical sexuality and gender programmes rolled out in schools.
Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Wales and Scotland.
And while the government faces some difficulties after losing its majority in the lower house following the resignations of Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander in the dual citizenship fiasco, the issue has cross-party support and already plans are in place Liberal senator Dean Smith to introduce a private member's bill in favour of same-sex marriage to the Senate this afternoon.
It will be supported by Labor and the Greens even though the minor party plans to present amendments. "One where everyone's treated with respect and dignity, where we believe in a society built on commitment and responsibility", he told Sky News.
After months of fierce debate on both sides, supporters of marriage equality are expected to emerge victorious.
An estimated 13 million Australians have returned their postal surveys in the nationwide ballot - a bigger percentage than voted in the UK's Brexit referendum.
A handful of MPs have vowed to ignore the public's will and vote against the bill anyway, but they are few and far between. They didn't vote to license more discrimination and that is what the Paterson bill does'. It already has the support of numerous "no" campaign's biggest advocates.