The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) has today called on Federal Parliament to immediately enable debate on marriage equality legislation if the survey result is a majority “YES” on 15 November 2017.
“With nearly 11 million Australians having voted, and the Labor Caucus today backing Dean Smith’s Bill, the nation’s attention now rightly turns to ‘what will Parliament do once the result is announced?’,” Convenor of GLRL, Ms Lauren Foy said.
“The Australian Parliament mustn’t muck around if the Australian people say “YES” on 15 November – parliament must get behind Senator Smith’s Marriage Amendment Bill and pass it as soon as possible.”
The Senate will be sitting on 15 November and could potentially move to immediately debate Senator Smith’s Amendment Bill after the 11:30AM announcement of the survey result.
While equality advocates like GLRL have serious reservations about the Bill favouring religious rights over other rights for marriage celebrants, several conclude it’s the only legitimate Bill to quickly resolve the issue.
“Only one Bill has the legitimacy of being presented to the Australian public in the run-up to and during this unprecedented survey – and that’s Senator Smith’s consensus Bill,” Ms Foy said.
Senator Smith’s Bill has received national coverage in the lead up to, and during, the postal survey period. Major media organisations have provided analysis and coverage of the Bill, and our only nation-wide newspaper, The Australian, even provided its online readership with a full copy of the Bill in the first weeks of the postal survey period.
“We’re prepared to put aside our reservations about Senator Smith’s Bill favouring religious laypeople who are celebrants in order that Australia can have a resolution before Christmas 2017,” Ms Foy said.
“It has Labor’s backing and we know many in Parliament have said they support it – so now we all want to know: does Prime Minister Turnbull’s Cabinet support it?”
“If the nation says YES come 15 November 2017, then there’s no case for any other Bill to pass parliament – and no case for ushering in major new discriminations against LGBTI people under the smokescreen of so-called religious ‘freedoms’,” Ms Foy concluded.
Senator Smith’s Bill is based on the consensus report of the recent Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill. The Select Committee held public hearings and received over 400 submissions from the public, including several religious organisations.