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Conservatives Try to Sneak 'Religious Freedom' Into Australia's Marriage Bill

14 November 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed a conservative-backed same-sex marriage bill, warning sweeping religious protections that discriminate against gay couples will have no chance of passing Parliament. When do we get to find out which way Australians voted?

Turnbull has endorsed a bill that would allow churches to refuse to officiate same-sex marriages.

Senator Paterson believes state and federal anti-discrimination laws aren't strong enough.

In response to concerns over the controversial Safe Schools program, the bill would also allow parents to pull their children out of classes where they "genuinely believe" their kids are being taught a view of marriage inconsistent with their own.

Proponent Sen. James Paterson said businesses could not advertise: "No gays allowed". "This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way", she said in a statement.

It is not known if Senator Paterson's bill is the same bill that Western Australian Liberal MP Ian Goodenough said a collection of a dozen conservative MPs were working on creating, or if there are still more alternative bills to be put forward.

It also includes exemptions so religious organisations can refuse to conduct same-sex marriages. "That's the reason we have the parliamentary debate". In his opinion piece Senator Paterson said printing companies, broadcasters and venues would be able to turn down business from either side of the debate.

This is how same-sex marriage is expected to pass in Australia, however it's not guaranteed.

The survey result will announced on Wednesday.

"I support there being strong religious protections in the bill, should tomorrow the Australian people have decided through the marriage survey that they would like to see same-sex marriage legislated in Australia", he said.

The proposed bill has been heavily criticised by supporters of gay marriage with Alex Greenwich, co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, claiming it has the potential to "divide Australians".

"If we were not to implement a decision on marriage equality, the nation would throw up its hands and give up on the parliament", he told a meeting of opposition senators in Canberra.

It will be supported by Labor and the Greens even though the minor party plans to present amendments.

"It was part of the journey in Ireland [during the referendum on marriage equality], the issue of freedom to discriminate against people, but that debate lasted a couple of hours because Irish people remember what those signs look like".

Conservatives Try to Sneak 'Religious Freedom' Into Australia's Marriage Bill