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Gays would be worse off under Paterson bill: Law Council

Gays would be worse off under Paterson bill: Law Council

Smith's bill would continue the current exemption for religious ministers to refuse to solemnise any marriage they want, provide a grandfather clause allowing current civil celebrant to move into a new category that would also have the right to refuse, and allow religious organisations the right to refuse to serve same-sex weddings.

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

Liberal senator Dean Smith wants a private member's bill on same-sex marriage.

Senator Smith's bill draws on the recommendations of a Senate committee and has the backing of the other prominent same-sex marriage supporters on the Coalition backbench: Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans, Warren Enstch and Tim Wilson.

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.

"If it's legally and morally wrong to discriminate against one gay person, I don't know how it becomes right to discriminate against two".

"It's already against the law", Senator Brandis said.

The bill would also guarantee the right of parents to opt their children out of school classes that conflicted with their values. "That's the reason we have the parliamentary debate".




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".

It is unclear when Senator Paterson will introduce his bill into the Upper House for debate or whether he will use the plan as the basis for amendments to Senator Smith's version.

At 10am on Wednesday, the result of the survey will be revealed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in favour of the law change, told reporters in Manila yesterday it will be up to senators to work out which bill they wanted to deal with first but he favoured the Smith bill.

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

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.

The time has finally come to hear the heavily anticipated result of the postal survey asking Australian's whether or not same-sex couples should be able to marry under Australian Law.


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