The Senate inquiry into Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s Marriage Equality Amendment Bill is now taking submissions, with the inquiry set to report back as soon as May 25.

The text of the bill has also been released. The long title is “A Bill for an Act to amend the Marriage Act 1961 to create the opportunity for marriage equality for people regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, and for related purposes”.

According to the bill, marriage equality will become legal as soon as its amendments are approved by the Governor-General.

In addition to allowing non-heterosexuals to marry, the bill also states that its objectives are to “recognise that freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity are fundamental human rights; and to promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity”.

The bill repeals the definition of marriage that was added to the Marriage Act by the Howard Government which ruled out same-sex marriage in 2004. The replacement definition reads, “Marriage means the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

The bill also adds “or partner” to sections that refer to “husband” and “wife”.

The bill also repeals Section 88EA of the Marriage Act which prohibits the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages in Australia.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is April 2. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Submission guidelines can be found at www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/wit_sub/index.htm

Submissions can be submitted through the Australian Parliament website at www.senate.aph.gov.au/submissions/pages/index.aspx

Alternatively submissions can be emailed to the committee at egcon.sen@aph.gov.au but must be in the form of a PDF or Word document and must be separate attachments to the email. The email must include your full postal address and contact details.

Submissions can also be sent by mail and should be addressed to:

Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

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