LGBTI advocates call for no discrimination to be created via marriage bills

Several high-profile LGBTI equality advocates have written to all federal members asking that no extra provisions allowing discrimination be included in the Marriage Act in return for the right of same-sex couples to marry.

The letter comes as Senator James Paterson unveils a marriage amendment bill that will override state anti-discrimination laws so that same-sex couples can be refused services by commercial businesses and charities.

A spokesperson for just.equal, and one of the letter’s signatories, Rodney Croome said there was no need for the government to create extra discrimination.

“If Australia has voted Yes it will be a vote for full equality, and not further discrimination.”

“A Yes vote will mean Australia has conclusively rejected the No campaign’s myth that marriage equality is a threat to freedom, and that special safeguards are required to guard against this threat.”

“Should there be a Yes vote, those who have lost the argument should not get to write the Bill.”

The joint letter rejects any provisions allowing same-sex and other couples to be refused services, over and above those which already exist in the Marriage Act.

The advocates are calling for a return to simpler legislation that focusses on the key issue of who can marry, suggesting that the cross-party bill introduced by Liberals, Warren Entsch and Terese Gambaro in 2015 is the best option.

The letter highlights that no other other country that has marriage equality accompanied the reform with provisions weakening anti-discrimination protections.

The letter also expresses concern about extra discrimination exemptions in the bill flagged by Senator Dean Smith.

Croome said if the bill created by Senator Smith is used he hopes to see the Bill amended to ensure there is no detriment to LGBTI people as a result of marriage equality.

Alongside Rodney Croome, the letter is signed by Shelley Argent from PFLAG, just.equal founder Ivan Hinton-Teoh, Peter Furness, former national director of Australian Marriage Equality, Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, convener of the Equality Project, Sharyn Faulkner, spokesperson for Geelong for Marriage Equality, Felicity Marlowe, advocate for rainbow families, Brian Greig OAM, former Democrats Senator for WA, Jac Tomlins, veteran LGBTI Activist and author Troy Simpson.

OIP Staff

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