Same sex marriage vote results - live updates as announcement is made

IT’S A YES! Australians have emphatically voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, saying "yes" to the historic social change by a substantial margin of 61.6 per cent to 38.4 per cent.

After years of political stagnation, the public has now tasked the Turnbull government with changing the law before Christmas to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Almost 80 per cent of eligible voters participated in the unprecedented voluntary postal survey, giving the verdict an authority unmatched by most elections globally.

There has been a lot of debate around Ballarat in the lead-up to the plebiscite.

These are just some of the stories The Courier has published in the lead-up to the event.