Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Debate On Same Sex Marriage Legislation To Begin Tomorrow

Debate On Same Sex Marriage Legislation To Begin Tomorrow

Draft laws to legalise same-sex marriage have been introduced to parliament, with a group of cross-party senators supporting Liberal senator Dean Smith's bill.

Debates are expected to kick off with Senator Dean Smith's bill.

Attorney-General George Brandis is one of those who believe people should not be obliged to marry same-sex couples against the teachings of their church, but said exemptions needed to be regulated to prevent discrimination.

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale is among those warning the legislation must not be used as a Trojan Horse to entrench discrimination. He said the Greens would not be entering into discussion about amendments that further extended discrimination in law.

The prime minister said Dean Smith's bill could "serve the objective as being the first draft", while Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said it was "a good starting point" in need of changes to boost religious protections.

Mr Paterson wanted to introduce extra protections for people to refuse services for same-sex couples if they had a "conscientious belief".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called Smith's bill a good "starting point".

Mr Paterson released his draft legislation on Monday that was supported by the No campaign.

"We have moved beyond the Australia where you have a sign outside your shop saying who you will and will not serve".

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If the vote is "no", the motion will be dismissed and Smith will table his bill.

Senator Smith is aiming to introduce his bill to the upper house on Thursday. He now plans to negotiate amendments to the Smith bill instead.

"I will now work constructively with my parliamentary colleagues over the coming weeks on amendments to ensure that the strongest possible protections for the freedoms of all Australians are enshrined in the final legislation", he said.

It now seems certain same-sex marriages will be passed. "To the parliament they have said "get this done, get on with it", and that is what we are going to do", Mr Turnbull told A Current Affair. He added that he envisages all amendments on the bill will be dealt with "by the end of the next sitting week".

Labor Senator Penny Wong said she hoped the Prime Minister would stand up against the suggested laws. "The result ... gladdens me greatly".

"I don't believe Australians would welcome, and certainly the Government. would not countenance making legal, discrimination that is illegal, that is unlawful today", he said.

In addition to just being very weird in its specificity, I'm sure you'll be shocked to discover no such allowances anywhere in the bill for those Australians who want to decline to provide goods or services related to a wedding on the basis of their personal objection to, say, straight marriages or religious marriages.

You could potentially see a situation where a hire vehicle company could leave their customers stranded on the way to a marriage ceremony simply because the driver held a thought or belief against it.

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