SEXUAL and gender diverse Australians are being encouraged to have their say on the government’s draft marriage equality bill, including proposals allowing religious discrimination.

The draft legislation was introduced by Attorney-General George Brandis last year and allows civil celebrants, businesses, and government officials to refuse their services to same-sex couples on religious grounds.

In response, advocacy groups just.equal and PFLAG recently released a national survey asking LGBTI Australians to express their views on the bill.

National campaigner for just.equal Ivan Hinton-Teoh said it’s important to get the community’s views on this so his group can advocate effectively.

“It’s crucial that LGBTI voices are heard on reforms that may directly impact their lives,” he said.

“We went through a similar process to get direction from the community on the plebiscite, and that feedback became a powerful tool in our campaign against the popular vote.

“I also hope it gave members of our community a powerful way to participate in LGBTI reform.”

The survey was designed by experts and will help just.equal and PFLAG to provide the most accurate representation of the LGBTI community opinion possible.

Hinton-Teoh said members of the community can get more involved if they wish.

“Our surveys are one way in which the broader community can help, but another active way it to join our growing army of campaigners who we are sending calls-to-action at critical moments,” he said.

A Senate inquiry into the draft legislation was recently opened to public submissions, prompting the survey along with stronger community advocacy.

National spokesperson for PFLAG Shelley Argent believes the terms and conditions attached to marriage equality matter to each and every LGBTI Australian.

“The final decision about where to draw the line should lie with everyone who is affected, not just with small groups of politicians and lobbyists,” she said.

“I urge every LGBTI Australian to take the survey.”

While the draft legislation currently includes targeted religious discrimination, prominent members of the government have said it should go further to include all businesses where the owner has an objection to same-sex marriage.

Complete the survey here.

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