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Same-Sex bill could override anti-discrimination laws

14 November, 2017, 18:55 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
  • The marriage debate is about nothing more or less than whether fellow human beings can be allowed equality says Bill Hoffman

When asked by TODAY co-host Karl Stefanovic about inclusions in a bill drafted by conservative Liberal senator James Paterson, which would give business owners the right to refuse service to gay people, Mr Brandis said the legislation would be "morally wrong".

Senator Smith said he was hopeful the Yes vote would prevail, but even if Australians voted No he would still introduce the Bill to the Senate this week.

'The Smith Bill supports the protection of religious freedoms in two key ways.

There are many politicians who, like Zed Seselja and and Ian Macdonald, have expressed opposition to same-sex marriage in the past, but say they will vote in line with the results of the postal survey.

Senator Paterson told the ABC in his view it would be wrong for a shop to erect a sign saying "no gays", but it would be okay if the sign said "no gay weddings".

The national director of Liberals and Nationals for Yes, Andrew Bragg, has said a marriage bill should be guided by three principles: "Firstly, existing discrimination in the Marriage Act should be eliminated; secondly, a strong protection for religious freedom should be provided; and thirdly, we should not reintroduce commercial discrimination in Australia".

The Paterson bill, would also include a clause which would allow government employees the right to refuse to register a same-sex marriage, while parents will be able to remove their child from a class if the content taught contradicts their beliefs.

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.

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

Ultimately it was up to parliament to decide which bill was the "vehicle to facilitate" the parliamentary debate.

The good news is that the turnaround time for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is going to be quite fast.

Senator Smith is aiming to introduce his bill to the upper house on Thursday.

At 10am on Wednesday, the result of the survey will be revealed. If successful, the Prime Minister has said that parliament should resolve the issue before they break for Christmas. "This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way", she said in a statement.

There will be no cabinet or party room position on any matter related to the bill, allowing each MP to vote as they wish on any proposed amendments.

Nearly 80 percent of Australia's registered voters have responded to a government-commissioned two-month postal survey on whether Parliament should lift the country's prohibition on same-sex marriage.

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