Same-sex marriage bill introduced to Parliament

Lester Mason
November 15, 2017

Paterson said would try to reconcile his bill with that put forward by Smith.

Paterson said it was simply a "practical or pragmatic" decision.

It is expected that same-sex marriage will be legalised following the plebiscite, and the LGBT community is seeking an anti-gay "loophole" to be closed. "I've never heard anyone call for exemptions other than these".

"If there is a Yes result on Wednesday, Australians will have voted for true equality for all Australians - not an unfettered right to discriminate for people who voted No", said HRLC director of legal advocacy, Anna Brown. "I think the public have made their mind up".

Paterson supports same-sex marriage and describes himself as a religious "agnostic", but insisted the values of gay marriage opponents need to be respected. "Unless I see really strong evidence for it, I'm pretty sceptical that it's necessary".

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.

Under Senator Paterson's plan, it would also allow any person or business to refuse to co-operate with the staging of same-sex weddings, protecting them from civil litigation under discrimination laws.

Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right, McLeod said.

On Sunday the Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman warned that religious freedom was a separate issue to same-sex marriage.


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

The Paterson bill also includes an "anti-detriment clause" that would protect a number of beliefs under the law - including the view that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman; that sex should only be between a married man and woman; that gender is binary; and even the view that same-sex relationships are immoral or wrong.

Those with the view that "gender is binary" - that people are born either a woman or a man - would also be considered to have a relevant belief which would incur the protections in the bill.

"Anti-discrimination law has served Australia and LGBTI people well". For example, a maternal child care worker contracted by a local council would be able to say to a single mother that they were damaging their child by raising it without a father [and] would not be able to be disciplined by the council. But there's still a key question: if the country does the right thing and votes Yes, when will we actually get marriage equality?

"If the Australian people do vote "yes", they're not going to look kindly on the same group of people who have urged a "no" vote not accepting the outcome and trying to delay further", she said.

Sen. Dean Smith, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (which is actually conservative), drafted a bill with bipartisan support that would give religious officials the power to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Liberal senator James Paterson has revealed the details of a marriage equality bill he has been working on, with the support of conservative politicians who opposed the reform, which would allow gay couples to marry while also inserting broad exemptions to anti-discrimination law to allow businesses to refuse service to same sex weddings.

Appearing on ABC News Breakfast, Paterson confirmed key details of the bill and said he meant to protect the freedoms of the 30% to 40% of Australians who were likely to have voted against same-sex marriage.

Smith declined to comment on the Paterson bill.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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