House of Representatives continue to debate marriage bill

The House of Representatives has finished the second reading of Senator Dean Smith’s Marriage Bill and progressed to discussing a series of proposed amendments to the legislation.

Three days of speeches from over 100 members of parliament came to an end this morning. Among the hundreds of speeches that have been delivered over the last few days were heartfelt personal stories about LGBTI relatives and constituents, pleas for religious freedoms to be protected, and at times – odd and bizarre statements from some MP’s that left many scratching their heads.

The house has now moved on to considering a series of amendments to the legislation, but all look likely to fail as the numbers are clearly in favour of passing the legislation in it’s current form.

The public gallery in the House of Representatives is packed with marriage equality supporters, including many prominent campaigners and federal senators watching on. The Speaker of the House, and his deputies have repeatedly reminded the gallery that applause are not appropriate in parliament.

The first amendment put forward by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott failed ‘on the voices’ and no division was required.

An amendment put forward by The Greens that called for a change to the name of the bill, and removal of the grandfather clause that allows civil celebrants to join the category of religious celebrants, was not successful. It was also voted down ‘on the voices’.

Liberal MP Michael Sukkar put forward an amendment for their to be two separate definitions of marriage and secondly to allow the exceptions provided to religious organisations to be extended to all celebrants. This suggestion was voted down 43-97.

The next round of proposed changes from WA Liberal Andrew Hastie covered items like allowing parents to pull their children out of classes that included information about same sex marriage, or gender theory. Alongside clauses about protections of anti same-sex marriage beliefs and a no detriment clause. The amendment was also voted down 56-87.

The house has just considered an amendment put forward by Liberal MP Alex Hawke who argues that provisions need to be included for celebrants who work within Australia’s military. The suggestion drew a fiery response from fellow Liberal Andrew Laming who said military officers who can’t follow the state’s laws should leave the military.

Hawke’s amendment not successful 59-87.

Debate continues…

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