Let's make August the month for marriage equality

 

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There is a bill for marriage equality!

BREAKING: We now have a bill for marriage equality written by Government politicians who are pushing for a free vote. This is an exciting moment¬†‚ÄĒ and you made this possible! The next step is to get a vote in Parliament, so any legislation can be discussed and passed.

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Have questions about the bill? Check out our FAQs here (and below).

 

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It's time to take action 

It’s time again to contact our MPs and Senators to tell them why you believe in marriage equality, and why you expect them to vote on this in August. 

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How we got here

Support for Australian Marriage Equality Grows Over 13 years

Marriage equality supporters sparked thousands of conversations all across Australia, changing hearts and minds: Two-thirds of Australians now believe it's time to update our marriage laws! We have shown that by working together, we can achieve a fair Australia. Now it's time for our politicians to do their jobs and vote for equality.

Swipe right or left to reveal our polling graph, with green showing public support and red opposition.

 

Senate consults community on marriage equality legislation 

Our campaign together led to the Australian Senate deciding marriage equality should be passed by a vote in Parliament, not an unnecessary plebiscite. Senators from Liberal, National, Labor, Greens and Nick Xenophon Team parties formed an inquiry to examine what legislation should look like.

Thousands of you mobilised to contribute to this inquiry ‚ÄĒ sharing what you wanted and expected from any legislation designed to deliver equality.

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The end result was a consensus report! After engaging widely with the LGBTI community, politicians proved that parties can come together and agree on a pathway forward for marriage equality.

 

Community responds: It's time for our politicians to do their jobs 

In just 8 months, this community has donated over $40,000 to film a television advert, turned out in force at regional towns in marginal electorates, raised our voice to every politician through tens of thousands of faxes, and talked about marriage equality to everyone we know ‚ÄĒ growing our movement by over 100,000 supporters.

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We are closer than we have ever been to a marriage act that includes all Australians ‚ÄĒ all we need now is a vote! Take action by¬†sending a message to your MP,¬†calling your politicians¬†or¬†chipping in to support the cause.

 

What's in the Bill? Q&A

Will the Bill allow for marriage equality?

Yes. The Bill allows for any adult couple to marry, regardless of their sex. This means that all LGBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people will be able to marry in Australia. Same-sex couples that married overseas will now have their marriages recognised in Australia.

 

Will ministers of religion be allowed to refuse same-sex marriage ceremonies?

Yes. Ministers of religion are currently not bound to solemnise any marriage provided they comply with anti-discrimination laws. That will continue to be the case. The Bill proposes that ministers of religion can refuse to perform marriage ceremonies that are inconsistent with the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of their religion or where necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of their followers, including not performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.

 

Will religious organisations be allowed to refuse to provide facilities, goods or services for same-sex weddings?

Yes, but only to the extent allowed under existing anti-discrimination laws.

Currently, the Sex Discrimination Act allows bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to provide facilities, goods or services where consistent with their religion’s doctrines, tenets or beliefs or where necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of their followers.

 

Will Church halls be forced to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies?

No. It will continue to be consistent with existing anti-discrimination laws. Religious exemptions under the Bill and the Sex Discrimination Act apply to facilities, goods and services provided by religious organisations. For example, a mosque, synagogue, temple or church hall used by a congregation for important religious rites could be refused as a venue for a same-sex wedding.

 

Will the Bill allow religious exemptions for commercial businesses?

No. All commercial businesses and other non-religious organisations must continue to uphold current anti-discrimination laws and cannot unlawfully discriminate against couples, including same-sex couples.

This means that commercial businesses or individual employees working at these businesses cannot discriminate against a customer on the basis of their race, skin colour, sex, religion, political opinion, nationality, age, marital or relationship status, impairment, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or other protected ground.

 

Can civil celebrants refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?

No. All civil celebrants must uphold anti-discrimination laws and cannot unlawfully discriminate against couples, including same-sex couples. Existing civil celebrants that wish to conduct marriages in accordance with religious beliefs can elect to be registered as religious marriage celebrants.  

 

What is a ‚Äėreligious marriage celebrant‚Äô?

Currently, the Marriage Act recognises ministers of religion from large established religions but requires ministers of religion from small independent and emerging churches to register in a very similar way to civil celebrants.

To distinguish from civil celebrants, the Bill creates a new category of ‚Äėreligious marriage celebrants‚Äô¬†for ministers of religion from small and emerging religions that are not recognised under the Marriage Act.

Marriage celebrants who are already registered whose religious beliefs would not allow them to solemnise a same-sex marriage have 90 days to apply to be registered as a religious marriage celebrant. Civil celebrant associations estimate that approximately as few as 3% of all current marriage celebrants would prefer to be registered as a religious marriage celebrant.

The new category will only be available to existing civil celebrants.

 

Can religious marriage celebrants refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?

Yes. The new categories of religious marriage celebrants can refuse to perform a ceremony where their religious beliefs would not allow them to do so.

 

Will religious sacraments be impacted by the Bill?

No. Religious rites and practices are not affected by the Bill.

 

Does the Bill remove the ability of ministers of religion to practice their religious beliefs? Will churches be forced to marry same-sex couples?

No. The Bill allows for ministers of religion and churches to continue to freely practice their religion and express their religious beliefs about marriage.

Where can I read a full copy of the bill?

The current bill can be read in full here.

All Australians should be able to get married

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Rachel believes in fairness
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Katelin believes in fairness
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Christian believes in fairness
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Katharina believes in fairness
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Gerard believes in fairness
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Janelle believes in fairness
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Hamed believes in fairness
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Judith believes in fairness
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Teupoko believes in fairness
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Andrew believes in fairness
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Debra believes in fairness
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Nick believes in fairness
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Md believes in fairness
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Jessica believes in fairness
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Susana Arredondo believes in fairness
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