Turnbull in town for gay marriage results


SYDNEY == The head of Australia's marriage equality push has slammed calls for anti-discrimination exemptions to be legalised under the guise of "religious freedoms" in the event of a yes vote in the postal survey, claiming such moves would be against the spirit of the support for the reform.

Most are tentatively expecting a yes result, with successive polls pointing that way. PM Turnbull has since expressed that his ministers will continue to back Smith's bill instead, although it will likely be adapted before being presented to parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew in to Australia overnight following a five-day series of leader meetings in south-east Asia.

Nevertheless, discussions are well under underway as to how same-sex marriage might be legislated. "The Smith bill is a balanced bill".

Turnbull has endorsed a bill that would allow churches to refuse to officiate same-sex marriages.

The Equality Campaign has rejected the marriage equality bill put forward by Senator James Paterson as nothing more than a license to discriminate.

The results of the postal survey, in which 12 million Australians have had their say, will be announced at 10am on Wednesday.

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Members of parliament will then be free to vote on the bill, which was developed by West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith.

In response to concerns over the controversial Safe Schools program, the bill would also allow parents to pull their children out of classes where they "genuinely believe" their kids are being taught a view of marriage inconsistent with their own. We know that's the real slippery slope, when you unravel anti-discrimination protections, and I don't think Australian people want that.

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

Gay couples would be legally turned away from wedding service providers and anti-discrimination laws created to protect LGBT people overturned under an extraordinary rival same-sex marriage bill released on Monday.

The Senator from Victoria said his bill would allow any Australian to declare that they would not participate in a same-sex wedding if it violated their religious beliefs.

The debate on the Smith bill is expected to start on Thursday and carry through to the next parliamentary sitting week, beginning in late November.

"But also, we should respect another human right and that is freedom of religious belief", he said.