As the Australian Bureau of Statistics closed its doors on Tuesday evening, campaigners on both sides of the national marriage survey took a moment to congratulate their allies before bracing once more.

Assuming a yes vote is returned on Wednesday next week, the public campaign will shift to a behind-closed-doors lobbying effort as each side attempts to shape the resulting legislation.

But whatever the outcome on Wednesday, the campaign has put political wheels in motion that will keep turning long after the first same-sex wedding bells chime. Both sides have been battle-hardened, though to whose long-term advantage is unclear.