Marriage equality bill likely to pass the Senate today as amendments are voted down

Marriage equality bill likely to pass the Senate today as amendments are voted down
Image: Sydney's rally for marriage equality in 2017. Image: Ann-Marie Calilhanna.

The marriage equality bill is all but certain to pass the Senate today, after all proposed amendments were voted down last night.

In the late-night debate, the amendments from senators James Paterson, George Brandis and Matt Canavan were all voted down, SBS News has reported.

The amendments would have allowed discrimination against LGBTI couples on the grounds of “conscientious objection”, and “the right of any person” to “manifest his or her religion”.

Labor voted as a bloc to defeat all amendments.

The Senate must still vote on amendments from One Nation, the Greens and David Leyonhjelm, all of which are set to be opposed by Labor.

The bill will likely go on to the Lower House without changes.

Amendments by the Greens would make it harder for civil celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad said the government should have included more religious exemptions in the bill rather than allow amendments to fail in the Senate.

Liberal senator Simon Birmingham said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had demonstrated strong leadership by enabling the bill despite colleagues trying to “derail the process”.

Marriage equality advocates have called Labor’s decision to oppose all amendments a “mixed blessing”.

Just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome congratulated the Labor Party for “holding firm against further discrimination”.

“But we are disappointed Labor’s decision also covers Green amendments that would have improved the legislation and which are also a response to LGBTI community concerns,” he said.

“We urge Labor to seriously consider supporting these positive amendments.”

Felicity Marlowe, executive director of Rainbow Families Victoria, agreed that the Greens’ “fantastic amendments” that would not allow discrimination should be considered.

“I urge the ALP to reconsider their agreement in light of amendments that improve the bill and send a more positive message to the LGBTIQ community by doing so,” she said.

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One response to “Marriage equality bill likely to pass the Senate today as amendments are voted down”

  1. The conservatives put all of their eggs in the delay-delay-delay basket in the full knowledge that at some point marriage equality would become law.

    Their “masterstroke” was the plebiscite/survey. It would have worked if, as they had planned, the Yes campaign had boycotted it. It would have enabled years of further delay.

    But reality kicked them in the arse, Australians voted Yes by a significant margin and the conservatives lost all control of the process.

    What’s incredibly disappointing about Australia’s conservatives is their short-sightedness and stupidity. The UK tories are on the right side of history as far as marriage equality is concerned, ditto the centre-right in NZ, they took the politics out of marriage. And our conservatives here could have had all the religious freedom they wanted if they’d gone to Turnbull in late 2015 and said “we’ll give you marriage equality if you give us a grab-bag of religious freedom in the deal, make it a government bill and we’ll all fight for it together”. Turnbull would have kissed them!

    But no, they were too stupid and greedy, now they’ve lost and they’re crying about it. Wankers.