Marriage equality advocates have launched a campaign against any new legal discrimination against same-sex couples when the Marriage Act is amended, in the event of a Yes win in the postal survey.
The campaign includes a web form to allow supporters to email MPs, a survey of the LGBTI community to determine its views on further discrimination in the Marriage Act, and a forum in Melbourne this Monday.
Advocates say a growing number of MPs want even more discriminatory provisions to “protect religious freedom”, including a broad right for married same-sex partners to be refused services or sacked from their jobs, and provisions against school diversity programs and hate speech laws.
“If Australia votes Yes, it will be Yes for full equality for all loving committed couples, not new exemptions from anti-discrimination laws,” said equality advocate and just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome.
“We haven’t come this far and gone through such a bruising postal survey, to see new forms of discrimination entrenched in the Marriage Act in return for the right to marry.
“No other country passed marriage equality with discriminatory add-ons and Australia shouldn’t either.”
Shelley Argent of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays said, “There are already sufficient religious protections in the Marriage Act. As national spokesperson for parents with LGBTIQ sons and daughters I don’t want to see any more exemptions at the expense of our sons’ and daughters’ rights and freedoms.
“We were told that the postal survey was democracy in action. However, it would not be a democratic outcome if the government chooses to ignore a Yes vote by enshrining further discrimination.
“It’s time for true equality, not half measures.”
A forum in Melbourne on Monday will allow members of the LGBTI community to express their views on proposed new religious exemptions in the Marriage Act.
“Exemptions from anti-discrimination law are a very serious issue for many LGBTI people and our families, and it’s vital there is proper consultation about what these exemptions mean, both in the short and long term,” said organiser Felicity Marlowe.
“Our forum aims to inform interested community members about the role of religious exemptions in Australia, the UK and US so that everyone has the opportunity to provide an educated response to any legislation or amendments that are tabled after the postal survey result.”