Rival bill allows Australian wedding providers to refuse gay couples

15 November, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • The Senate could begin debating changes to the Marriage Act as early as this week if the'Yes vote comes out on top

Mr Turnbull was responding to Liberal senator James Paterson's bill, which would extend religious protections to allow private businesses to refuse goods and services for gay weddings if they have "conscientious objections".

"Australians have been voting not to entrench discrimination in legislation".

"The government would not countenance making legal, discrimination that is unlawful today", he said.

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

MPs from all parties will be able to propose amendments to that bill, but crucially, there will be no cabinet or party room position dictating how people vote.

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

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

"It could go either way so we don't really want to get our hopes up". "I don't think their votes should mean we shouldn't have same-sex marriage, but I do think that their freedoms should be protected and I think my bill is a bill that best does that", he said.

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"The objective of the Bill is clear: it creates equal access to marriage while protecting religious freedom in relation to marriage", he said.

No notice has yet been given for the Paterson bill.

"I am sure the great majority of Australians share my view - if a Yes vote is announced the parliamentary debate should begin at the earliest possible opportunity", he said.

"Australia's anti-discrimination laws were amended in 2013 to enact important protections for LGBTI people in recognition of the unacceptable levels of discrimination. This is even if the belief had nothing to do with religion".

A cross-party group of senators - led by Liberal Dean Smith and supported by senior Labor figure Penny Wong, amongst others - will introduce a private bill to the upper house on Wednesday, just hours after the survey result is announced.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said Australians expected the parliament to deal with marriage equality legislation before the end of the year.

Adding: "Are we going back to a time in Australia where there were signs outside a shop saying who they would serve and who they wouldn't?"

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