News Worms
News Worms


Same-Sex bill could override anti-discrimination laws

Same-Sex bill could override anti-discrimination laws

Mr Turnbull was responding to demands from some Liberals, led by Victorian senator James Paterson, that business owners should be able to refuse service for gay weddings based on religious or "conscientious" beliefs.

Tiernan Brady, the director of Australian Marriage Equality, told HuffPost Australia last week the religious freedoms argument ran counter-intuitive to the idea of having a vote for marriage equality.

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.

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.

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

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.

Paterson's bill has been slammed by human rights and law bodies.

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

"Australia's anti-discrimination laws were amended in 2013 to enact important protections for LGBTI people in recognition of the unacceptable levels of discrimination". 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. "This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way", she said in a statement.

The proposed bill has been heavily criticised by supporters of gay marriage with Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, claiming it has the potential to "divide Australians".

"Assuming there is a Yes vote tomorrow - the pollsters will really be rocked if there isn't - but assuming there is, there will be a Private Members Bill and amendments can be moved and if people want to move an amendment of that kind, well, you know, they can", he said.

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