Advocates welcome call to reduce discrimination in marriage bill

Marriage equality advocates have praised the Greens for new attempts to reduce discrimination towards LGBTI+ Australians in Senator Dean Smith’s co-sponsored marriage bill.

The House of Representatives’ sole Green MP Adam Bandt said he will re-introduce amendments to the bill to limit exemptions that allow discrimination in wedding services against marrying couples, including same-sex couples, on the grounds of religion.

just.equal spokesperson and veteran marriage equality activist Rodney Croome celebrated The Greens for listening to the LGBTI community.

“LGBTI community surveys auspiced by just.equal and PFLAG have shown there is deep concern in the LGBTI community about exemptions that allow unnecessary discrimination and we thank the Greens for listening to those concerns,” Croome said.

“By voting Yes, a majority of Australians not only affirmed that right of same-sex couples to marry, they also repudiated the No campaign’s proposition that freedom and faith need additional protections from same-sex marriage over and above existing religious protections in the Marriage Act.”

“We ask ask other parties to support the amendments so that Australia, like every other country with marriage equality, can achieve this reform without unnecessary caveats or carve outs.”

Former Australian Marriage Equality national convener Peter Furness also supported The Greens’ move.

“Civil marriage celebrants were established in 1973 for the sole purpose of providing couples who sought a non-religious wedding ceremony outside the setting of a state registry office the opportunity to have one,” Furness said.

“To establish a new category of religious marriage celebrant is a distortion of the very purpose of marriage celebrants as representatives of the state. It creates a dangerous precedent for other roles performed by the state which should properly be separate from the church or religious influence.”

“These amendments are historic, even if they don’t get up, because the Greens are taking a stand against religious privilege at a time when too many others are bowing to it.”

PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent said she too is pleased that The Greens are standing firm against discrimination in the name of religion.

“Our sons and daughters have waited a long time to be seen as equal to their siblings, and the Greens are doing their best to ensure there is no lingering legal discrimination.”

The House of Representatives have been debating Senator Smith’s Marriage Bill since the lower house resumed on Monday.

OIP Staff

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