Australia Attempts to Avoid US Pitfalls in Same-Sex Marriage Legislation


As in the United States, the ongoing demonization of Australia's same-sex marriage opponents is driving the effort to pass legislation with no conscience protections.

While the Dean Smith bill already allows priests and other religious celebrants to refuse to Wednesday same-sex couples on the basis of their faith, a number of senators wanted the protection extended to civil celebrants with a "conscientious objection".

On Nov 15, almost 62 percent of the 12.7 million people voted in favour of the change.

"I'm particularly glad that the Senate voted down proposed amendments that would've served only to further enshrine discrimination against LGBTI people", he said.

The bill, which originated in the upper house, will now be debated in the House of Representatives.

"You are a normal person and, like every other normal person, you have a need to love ..."

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"I think the vast majority of Australians accept that there's a binary situation overwhelmingly within our community that you are either male or female, but we do accept and acknowledge that there are those very small numbers who are born with attributes of both genders". "Essentially we are seeking a "no detriment" clause so that no one who holds a belief in traditional marriage is penalized for their belief at work or in the wider society".

"What [marriage equality] says to young LGBTIQ Australians, what it says to the young man struggling with who he is, or the young woman who feels alone and ashamed, what it says to the children of same-sex couples who feel ostracized", said Wong.

Following the results, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed to move a bill in favour of equality by Christmas.

'This day would not have come without the courage and dedication of all who have campaigned, and it would not have come without the decision of theAustralian people to vote yes, ' Wong said. "Tori lost his life in the Lindt café siege. He was fearless, he was courageous and he had a partner named Thomas", Smith said.

"It's a huge victory for love, for equality and fairness", said one supporter, Anna Brown. "The more the debate was resisted, the more the strength was found to fight for it", he said. "I certainly am", Senator Smith said in a final speech before the vote.

Senator Matt Canavan said he was "sceptical that we could trust the political process" to enshrine religious freedoms.