The Equality Campaign says Paterson bill is a license to discriminate

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

“This is not a marriage equality bill. It’s about enshrining discrimination and taking Australia back decades,” said Anna Brown of the Equality Campaign.

“Australians are voting to make our country a fairer and more equal place, not to take us back to a time where people can be denied service at a shop.

“We are confident that the majority of parliamentarians are sensible and will see this for what it is and not wind Australia back decades.

“Australians have voted for equality, not more discrimination. Australians believe in a fair go for all – this Bill goes completely against what people have voted for.”

The Equality Campaign today released a poll showing strong Australian support for marriage equality and rejection of any rolling back of discrimination laws.

The independent, nationwide poll of 1,500 people, commissioned by the Equality Campaign and conducted by Newgate Research in late October, revealed that when given examples of possible extensions to discrimination on religious grounds Australians are strongly opposed.

Co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich (pictured), said Senator Paterson’s bill did not meet the Australian values of equality and fairness.

“The Bill proposed by Senator Paterson could potentially go as far as denying couples who have had sex or children before marriage, divorced people and same-sex couples everything from flowers at anniversaries to vaccines for honeymoons.

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

“Fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society and we believe our laws should reflect these values of which we are most proud.

“Our campaign has worked hard to bring Australians together and achieving marriage equality will be a unifying moment for our nation as we include everyone in our marriage laws. Let’s get this done so we can all move forward as a fairer and more inclusive nation,” Greenwich said.

The Equality Campaign welcomed the announcement by Senator Dean Smith that he would introduce his marriage equality bill into the parliament on Thursday.

“The proposed bill has support across the government, opposition, and cross-bench and there should be no impediment to it passing now. Greenwich said.

While The Equality Campaign has backed Senator Smith’s marriage bill, LGBTI rights advocates at just.equal have been critical of it’s provisions for celebrants who are not Ministers of religion.

OIP Staff

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