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More than 3 out of 10 people voted 'no'. What do you do with that number?

Today, as Australians huddled together to watch the results from the marriage equality postal survey, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced love does in fact win.

Of the nearly 13 million people who voted, 61.6 per cent of Australians voted Yes for marriage equality. News feeds were an array of rainbow and colour and love and support, relief palpable, emotions high.

But for all the smiles are wide, the bitterness lingers.

This was a success, but a unnecessary one nonetheless. Because today, for all we celebrate love, awareness of the opposition – the almost four in 10 – still lingers. We must remember that a result like this doesn’t undo months of damage to the LGBTIQ community born from hateful sentiments given deliberate and public platforms.

And if you ask comedian Josh Thomas, who spoke to Meshel Laurie’s Nitty Gritty Committee earlier this month, a Yes result should not and cannot erase what the postal vote encouraged.

“The whole thing was f*cking grotesque… and I sort of worry that if we vote Yes, everyone’s going to forget what a disgusting, miserable thing [the government] did.

Listen: Australia voted yes, so what next? (Post continues…)

“I’ve been called a paedophile a lot lately. Just a lot. Every day comes to me and calls me a paedophile.

“Honestly, before this, for three years before that, I would’ve got three bad messages in my Twitter feed. As soon as this thing started, everyday now I am getting called a pedophile or a faggot or people who will say it’s not okay to be gay, and then use gay suicide as data to show that is bad.”

Thomas says no matter what the result, this survey has given “permission for people to be haters”.

“Even if it comes back at 40 per cent, to have that number in your head, walking around, like four out of 10 people are actually homophobic.

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“I’ve got really strong words from people, that I know what’s going on in their inner monologue. Even if we win it, it’s just shown to me how much incredible hate there is towards me, my brother and my friends.

“No matter what, you get a number of people and you know how much they hate you.”

Image: Getty.

For Mamamia's commercial editor Adam Bub, it's a sentiment he's all too aware of. However, Wednesday's result was a victory, and for that he will still celebrate.

"I think firstly it's important not to undersell the victory. 61 percent 'YES' is a beautiful result – and the fact that a 'YES' vote was the majority in 133 out of 150 electorates shows that marriage equality is something that touches Australians everywhere from country towns to the big cities, coast to coast. However, as a gay person, I do feel a bittersweet sense that when I walk down the street, in 2017, there are still people who cast judgment upon me for just living my life.

"It's confirmed for us that 38.4 percent of people are uncomfortable with us, we can never feel 100 percent safe anywhere we go. At a time when I want to celebrate with the people I love, it really does sadden me deeply that 4.7 million Australians believe their rights are superior to mine and so many other Australians. So there's work to be done there."

Adam says the vote ignited a campaign that "definitely opened personal wounds".

A post shared by Adam Bub (@adambub) on

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"Every gay person I know had someone in their family or friendship circle that voted 'no'. It's a shot to the heart, and makes you see people very differently. They're basically saying, 'I deny you the right to choose your happiness'.

"I also believe that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party opened the floodgates for open vilification and hate speech against LGBTI people when they signed off on this survey. I had to wake up in the morning to see the most disgusting comments from people on social media – some of them public figures in the "no" campaign – and feel like a lesser human being, every day of this campaign."

Today, a few hours on from the historic and rousing result, Adam says he feels a "mixture of so many things".

"[I'm] elated, exhausted, relieved, anxious, hopeful, optimistic, and ultimately grateful. I'm grateful that we have millions of straight allies who are willing to stand up for what's right. It takes an army, and that army comes in all kinds of forms."

Because for every 10 people in a room, more than three of them are likely to have sprouted hate that was legitimised by our government.

And for that, a majority Yes vote doesn't change everything.

You can listen to Josh Thomas' interview with Meshel Laurie here.

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