The NSW Relationship Register soared over its final hurdle last night, with an overwhelming 32-5 vote of support from the NSW Upper House.
The emotive debate over the NSW Relationships Register Bill seen in the NSW lower house the night before continued in the other chamber, with Greens members lamenting the lack of mention of same-sex marriage.
Predictably, members of the christian right were predicting the death of marriage and family as we know it.
The five objections came from members of the religious right: Fred Nile, of the Christian Democrats and the Reverend Gordon Moyes of the Family First Party.
“Leaving aside its philosophical or moral problems, any requirement that the relationship has any real meaning is very weak and almost non-existent in the way this bill has been drafted,” Nile told his parliamentary colleagues after arriving in the chamber late from the annual Australian Christian Democrats dinner.
“I reaffirm my support for traditional marriage, which I believe came from the creator, Almighty God, when it was stated in Genesis that a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and the two shall become one flesh.
“Some people who disregard the Old Testament will note that Jesus Christ himself repeated those words in his own teaching and that the apostles included those words in their epistles just to make it clear for the Christian church in the New Testament period. I oppose the bill and hope members will give serious consideration to the amendments.”
The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council, Matthew Mason-Cox, led the objection on his party’s side with support from David Clarke – using quotes from the Sydney Star Observer – and Marie Ficarra.
But overwhelmingly there were more pleasant words than unpleasant with National Party member Trevor Khan among the most passionate.
“In Australia our ethics are built on the concept of a fair go. Our ethics are built on the very fundamental foundation of tolerance and decency, and I believe that that is the basis upon which there is the difference,” he said.
“If one looks at some of the responses on Facebook in relation to debates on this matter, the question keeps being asked: Why should there be any difference? Why should people not be entitled to the same rights?
“It is that fundamental question of why that has stopped the avalanche of emails that otherwise would have happened. It is a question of why do we discriminate against a section of our community?
“I believe that this bill is on safe ground because it reflects the fundamental ethos of a fair go.”
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