World News

Conservatives Try to Sneak 'Religious Freedom' Into Australia's Marriage Bill

Conservatives Try to Sneak 'Religious Freedom' Into Australia's Marriage Bill

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.

If supported, Thursday's Senate program will effectively be cleared to prioritise debate on the bill, which will be the subject of a free vote not bound by party positions.

Senator Smith said as the Senate was sitting this week, it made "no sense" to delay making marriage equality law in Australia.

Writing in The Australian, Senator Paterson said he'd developed his marriage bill to ensure there were sufficiently robust protects for freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience.

"It's a rebuke to the Australian people", Campaign Director, Tiernan Brady, told Fairfax. James Paterson would give a broad license to discriminate against LGBT people to businesses, teachers, parents, and nonprofits.

Brady, an Irish citizen, said he saw echoes of the historical discrimination against his own people in the religious freedoms push.

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

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed a conservative-backed same-sex marriage bill, warning sweeping religious protections that discriminate against gay couples will have no chance of passing Parliament.

No notice has yet been given for the Paterson bill.

It's a non-binding postal survey, so there's nothing compelling the government to change the law in the event of a "yes" vote.

"Australia's anti-discrimination laws were amended in 2013 to enact important protections for LGBTI people in recognition of the unacceptable levels of discrimination".

The press conference, by Australia head statistician David Kalisch and deputy Jonathon Palmer, will be broadcast just about everywhere and I'll bring you all the details here. Liberal senator Dean Smith, who has authored a bill which would legislate marriage equality, has asked Parliament to begin the debate on Thursday. Opinions polls show that most Australians support gay marriage.


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