[share-button type="facebook" text="Share" url="http://equalitycampaign.org.au/submission"] [share-button type="twitter" text="Tweet" url="http://equalitycampaign.org.au/submission" message="Have you added your voice to the Senate Inquiry on the draft #MarriageEquality bill? @AMEquality"]
Your submission: What you could say
We have had our legal experts look over the current Bill, and they will be highlighting some of the below points in our submission. You might consider these points when writing your submission or statement:
- All adults should be allowed to marry the person they love. I strongly support the draft Bill's change in the definition of marriage from being between "man and woman" to "2 people", which is inclusive of all LGBTI people and relationships. I strongly support the draft Bill's proposed recognition of previous foreign same-sex marriages.
- Religious freedom is important to many Australians and should be protected. It is reasonable for the draft Bill to allow ministers of religion to conduct religious marriage ceremonies in accordance with the tenets and doctrines of their religion. However, this freedom should encompass all aspects of religious marriage, rather than focusing solely on the exclusion of same-sex couples.
- The draft Bill proposes to allow civil celebrants to refuse to marry couples that are not a man and a woman. This exemption should be opposed — there is no place for discrimination in a civil service performed on behalf of the state. Internationally, very few of the countries who have introduced marriage equality have allowed civil celebrants to discriminate against same-sex couples.
- The draft Bill allows for both ministers of religion and civil celebrants to discriminate on the basis of 'conscientious belief' — that is, even when their objection to same-sex marriage is not linked to religious doctrine or principles. This is a new basis for discrimination not currently included in Australian anti-discrimination law and sets a dangerous precedent. The 'conscientious belief' exemption should be removed from the Bill.
- The draft Bill proposes that religious bodies and organisations be permitted to refuse to provide facilities, goods or services to LGBTI people for their weddings. This exemption is unnecessary, given the existing broad religious exemptions in federal discrimination law, and uncertain in scope because the terms 'bodies and organisations' is not defined. This exemption should be removed from the draft Bill.
- You can read a copy of the Government's proposed bill here.
- Have a read of the Terms of Reference for the Senate Inquiry.
What will the inquiry look at?
An important note: We have spoken to the Committee and have been told that substantive submissions that explore the technical aspects of the Senate Inquiry's terms of reference will be published. However, the committee does not have the resources or time to consider short statements expressing support either for or against same-sex marriage. As such, these statements will be treated as correspondence and not published by the committee.
Shorter statements of support for marriage equality can be used by Australian Marriage Equality and Australians For Equality as appendices to their submissions.