If you voted in Australia’s $122 million postal survey on marriage equality, you may soon start to feel even more ripped off by the process.
With a Yes win expected to be announced this Wednesday at 10am (expected, but certainly not guaranteed), some MPs appear to be doing whatever they can to further delay the process.
Liberal Senator James Paterson has proposed a new bill today, which will allow businesses the right to refuse services to same-sex couples if marriage equality is legalised.
In essence, if legislated, the bill would enable businesses and charities to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Is that what you voted for?
Brace yourselves for further debates, arguments and delay tactics on this issue. While some hoped this matter would be sorted before Christmas, this new bill could very well push the issue well into 2018.
Paterson told reporters that “we have actually never discussed how to legalise same-sex marriage– if we should do so, and I think that’s an important discussion for us to have as Liberals.”
And yes, all this will be happening while the Government decides if those in our Parliament have actually been legitimately elected to be there in the first place, with the Coalition this morning reaching a deal with the Opposition stating that all Federal politicians will have to publicly declare by December 1 their citizenship status and history.
James Paterson’s bill includes the following:
- Expands the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples
- Ensures ministers of religion and celebrants have a right to refuse to solemnise a same sex wedding.
- Establishes a limited right of conscientious objection, to ensure no-one is forced to participate in a same-sex wedding against their sincerely held beliefs.
- Protects freedom of speech so that Australians can discuss their view of marriage without fear of legal penalties.
- Enacts a narrow anti-detriment clause that prevents governments and their agencies from taking adverse action against someone with a traditional view of marriage. It does not apply to non-government organisations, businesses, or individuals, preserving freedom of association.
- Guarantees parents’ right to choose their childrens’ education by allowing them to opt out of classes that conflict with their values.
This bill aims to appease Liberal conservatives, and rival that of Senator Dean Smith’s bill on same-sex marriage — widely predicted to be be proposed following a Yes victory.
When Australians were asked to participate in postal vote about whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, we spoke out about the absurdity of the situation and the danger such a process posed, but nevertheless got on with it.
More than 80% of eligible Australians voted, according to the ABS. We got out our pens, folded up our responses into envelopes, and googled where to find the nearest post office to send the response back.
A winning Yes vote hands the issue back to our MPs to get on with the process. Disappointingly, the result of the vote looks likely to trigger more bickering, in-fighting and power-playing.
But we’d all prefer some action and solidarity.