Senate inquiry to look into marriage bill


The Greens, Labor and Senator Derryn Hinch have joined forces to create a Senate Inquiry on marriage equality and the Coalition government’s draft bill to amend the Marriage Act.

Senator Janet Rice, the Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson has described the move for a senate inquiry as a way forward for marriage equality.

“Ditching the plebiscite has paved the way for the Parliament to decide on marriage equality,” Senator Rice said.

“The only way we’re going to achieve marriage equality is through co-operation from all sides of Parliament.

“This is an opportunity for anyone with questions about the path forward for marriage equality to have them answered.

“By working together, we will hear wedding bells ringing during this Parliament.”

Labor Senator Louise Pratt said the issue of marriage equality would never go away.

“This issue will never die in any parliament until it is done,” Senator Pratt said.

The committee will be made up four government MPs and four non-government MPs.

Advocates say inquiry must provide a pathway to marriage equality

The move for another inquiry on the issue has been welcomed by marriage equality advocates but they stress the process must lead to action.

Australians for Equality (A4E) & Australian Marriage Equality (AME) said it is clear that the majority of the nation backs marriage equality and any inquiry must be about working towards a clear pathway to equality in 2017.

“Over the past decade, there have already been multiple inquiries that have provided an opportunity for tens of thousands of Australians to express their support for marriage equality,” Co-Chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich said.

“For the first time we have proposed legislation from a Government to change the Marriage Act. This Inquiry has the potential to build on this legislation and achieve marriage equality.

“It’s important that we continue to work with religious organisations and people to reassure that allowing equal access to civil marriage will have no impact on celebrating religious marriage. We hope this inquiry reinforces this.

“We continue to call on all parties to work together to achieve marriage equality so we can all move forward,” Mr Greenwich said.

Co-Chair of Australians for Equality, Anna Brown said while there are aspects of the proposed Marriage Act Bill that are concerning, she was hopeful the inquiry could work constructively to address these issues so that it can get moving on enabling every Australian to marry the person they love.

“Two-thirds of Australians as well as a majority of politicians want every Australian to be able to marry the person they love. Marriage equality will not change anything for the vast majority of Australians, but will make a profound difference to the status and dignity of many.

“We will continue to engage with politicians and Australians from all walks of life to remind them that this is about the lives and aspirations of every people. It is about our friends, families, neighbours and colleagues.

“Our campaign will continue to remind our MPs that fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society. Marriage is about the commitment shared between two people who love each other and want a secure future. This is good for our community and our nation.

“Fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society. We are promoting some of the greatest human values – love, respect and happiness,” Brown said.

OIP Staff, image: Senator Janet Rice

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