Same-sex marriage bill introduced to Parliament

15 November, 2017, 10:14 | Author: Wade Massey
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics will announce the results of the same-sex marriage survey

Senator Brandis added that the amendment was not, nor was there, a government position on the matter.

The draft Marriage Amendment (Definition and Protection of Freedoms) Bill 2017 to legalise same-sex marriage, released by Senator James Paterson yesterday, represents an "extraordinary and perilous" winding back of Australia's anti-discrimination laws under the cover of marriage equality, according to the Law Council of Australia.

A rival bill from Liberal senator James Patterson was withdrawn, with the Victorian saying a majority of senators believe the Smith bill "is where we should start".

"The Prime Minister and I, and other members of the government, have always said that there should be strong protections for religious freedom and freedom of conscience". He also called for a provision to state that "nothing in the bill makes it unlawful for people to hold and to express the views of their own religion on marriage".

Liberal senators Linda Reynolds and Jane Hume, Labor's Penny Wong and Louise Pratt, the Greens' Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice, Skye Kakoschke-Moore from the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch all signed the motion with Smith. They didn't vote to license more discrimination and that is what the Paterson bill does'.

Standing alongside Turnbull at the press conference after the survey announcement, Cormann said he agreed the Smith bill was "a good starting point" but warned that it needed "additional religious protections". Senator Smith then rose to introduce his bill.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham also voiced concerns.

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In a statement, Abbott said "the parliament should respect the result" but he pointedly noted that both the prime minister and the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, had "pledged their support for freedom of religion".

Should the vote go that way, Smith is prepared to introduce his marriage equality bill immediately.

During a news conference in Manila, the PM repeatedly fielded questions on whether he would stand up to conservatives who are pushing for changes to the law, which allow people to refuse services to same-sex couples.

At 10am on Wednesday, the head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics will reveal whether Australia will join countries like Canada and the United Kingdom in favour of marriage equality or remain against it alongside nations like Iraq and Yemen.

While Senator Paterson publically supports same-sex marriage, his bill had the support or a number of vocal No campaigners within the Coalition.

Nevertheless, discussions are well under underway as to how same-sex marriage might be legislated.

He will propose a motion backed by several Liberal, Labor, and Green senators to begin debate on Thursday (16 November) morning.

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