Monday, 20 November, 2017

Australians support same-sex marriage in survey, paving way for legislation

The marriage debate is about nothing more or less than whether fellow human beings can be allowed equality says Bill Hoffman The marriage debate is about nothing more or less than whether fellow human beings can be allowed equality says Bill Hoffman. JOEL CARRETT
Bennie Garza | 15 November, 2017, 02:42

After months of fierce debate on both sides, supporters of marriage equality are expected to emerge victorious.

However, even ahead of the release of the results, conservative politicians inside the Australian parliament were preparing for a fight over how marriage equality would be legalized.

Marriage celebrants who are already registered and whose religious beliefs would not allow them to solemnise a same-sex marriage have 90 days to apply to be registered as a religious marriage celebrant.

Debate would start on Thursday morning, the Senate's usual time for considering private bills.

This gives the Smith bill an immediate advantage over its legislative rival, a bill penned by Liberal senator James Paterson. Service providers such as, florists and bakers would be allowed to refuse to serve gay weddings.

The competing bills are causing a schism within the coalition, with Treasurer Scott Morrison, who opposes same-sex marriage, saying in a radio interview on Wednesday that Smith's legislation doesn't contain sufficient protections for religious freedoms. Parents would also be allowed to remove children from classes where lessons go against their views on marriage.

"The simple message now is: pass the law", said Tiernan Brady, leader of the Marriage Equality campaign. It's about enshrining discrimination and taking Australia back decades, ' said Anna Brown of the Equality Campaign. "And now it is up to us here in the parliament of Australia to get on with it, to get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do and get this done", he said. As many comparable countries such as the USA and Britain allowed or legislated for same-sex marriage, Australia looked increasingly out of step.

"But the polls have been pretty consistent and it really does seem that in commentary right across the political spectrum the expectation is that there will be a "yes" vote", she said.

Buzzfeed Australia reported on Tuesday that one bill in particular, backed by the main "yes" camp organizers and supported by a broad cross-party group of Australian senators, has emerged as the most viable way to change the law.

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