Decision day arrives for same-sex marriage in Australia — Postal survey results

Frederick Owens
November 15, 2017

Smith's bill would continue the current exemption for religious ministers to refuse to solemnise any marriage they want, provide a grandfather clause allowing current civil celebrant to move into a new category that would also have the right to refuse, and allow religious organisations the right to refuse to serve same-sex weddings.

The suggested laws have been received by supporters of the "yes" vote as a "kick in the teeth" to the gay community and which would roll back the clock on anti-discrimination legislation.

Senator Smith said as the Senate was sitting this week, it made "no sense" to delay making marriage equality law in Australia.

And versions of this marriage equaity bill include so-called religious freedom exemptions that attack LGBT rights, reports Al Jazeera.

"It's a rebuke to the Australian people", Campaign Director, Tiernan Brady, told Fairfax.

Paterson's bill would allow a wide range of service providers, religious or secular, to turn away gay couples asking for wedding services.

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Brady, an Irish citizen, said he saw echoes of the historical discrimination against his own people in the religious freedoms push.

"It was part of the journey in Ireland [during the referendum on marriage equality], the issue of freedom to discriminate against people, but that debate lasted a couple of hours because Irish people remember what those signs look like".

"This moment can't be the moment we literally do the opposite of what the people are saying".

Almost 80 per cent of eligible Australians took part in the voluntary poll, a return rate that compares more than favourably with the 91 per cent who voted at the compulsory 2016 federal election. "This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way", she said in a statement. "As a non-religious person, I should have no fewer rights to live my life consistent with my beliefs than anyone else".

"I hope Malcolm Turnbull shows some spine on this, I really do", she said.

No matter what the result is, this day is a wonderful time for all Australians who have worked hard to achieve marriage equality to come together in support. Proponent Sen. James Paterson said businesses could not advertise: "No gays allowed".

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