More than 160 LGBTI organisations and leaders have signed a joint statement calling on the Australian Parliament to recognise the will of the people and ensure marriage equality is passed by the end of the year.
Now, parliament is debating the proposed Bill, with conservative politicians calling for increased ‘religious freedoms’ in any marriage equality legislation.
But LGBTI leaders say parliament must follow the will of the people and legislate for marriage equality as soon as possible.
The Senate meets today- we’ve spent $100million asking the people about marriage equality. They roared back YES – time for parliament to do its job & do what they’ve been told #voteyes pic.twitter.com/KpkMyb99JR
— Tiernan Brady (@Tiernanbrady) November 26, 2017
What does the statement say?
‘As organisations, leaders and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities, following the resounding YES result in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, we call for the Parliament to pass marriage equality legislation as soon as possible,’ the joint statement reads.
‘More than 7.8 million people said YES to marriage equality. The strong YES vote delivered a loud message – discrimination against LGBTI Australians must end. It is now time for our parliament to act and pass marriage equality this year.’
The statement endorses West Australian Senator Dean Smith’s Report on the Commonwealth Government’s Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.
In February, the Parliament delivered a cross-party consensus report that identified a balance of providing protections for religious freedoms while allowing all Australian couples to marry. The report said that:
- Civil marriage celebrants should not be able to discriminate against any LGBTI couple by refusing them the right to marry;
- Religious freedom protections should not exclusively target LGBTI people; and
- No changes to longstanding discrimination protections are necessary in order to allow LGBTI couples the right to marry.
‘Marriage equality is a straightforward issue of fairness and equality. Every Australian should be treated equally under the law and that includes being able to marry the person that they love,’ the statement reads.
‘Marriage equality takes from no-one. It will make a profound difference to the lives and dignity of LGBTI Australians and their family and friends.’
Who signed the statement?
Lobby groups, health organizations, celebrities, non-profit organizations, religious leaders and media [including this journalist and website] signed the joint statement.
‘This united statement urges Parliament to act on the largest ever mandate for marriage equality delivered by the Australian people,’ said Anna Brown, from the Equality Campaign.
‘The legislation introduced to parliament by Dean Smith strikes a fair balance between LGBTI couples having equal access to marriage and the need to ensure people can practice their religious beliefs.’
Read the full statement here.