Federal Parliament today voted in favour of a motion from Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie which confirms that religious celebrants will not be made to perform same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their faith.
The motion read “Should the Marriage Act be amended to allow same-sex marriages the amendments should ensure the Marriage Act imposes no obligation on a minister of religion to solemnise such marriages,” and was passed ‘on the voices’.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Alex Greenwich hoped the motion would put to rest one of the most persistent fears raised by religious objectors.
“Today’s motion confirms that people of faith have nothing to fear from marriage equality,” Greenwich said.
“Parliament has made it crystal clear that it will not force religious celebrants to act against their religious values and that churches will continue to be able to define marriage as they choose.”
Fifteen clergy from several different faiths and denominations wrote to all members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the motion in the lead-up to the vote.
The vote comes a month after the head of Australia’s second-largest religious denomination, Anglican Primate of Australia Dr Phillip Aspinall, admitted there were adequate protections for religious groups in the Marriage Act and that none of the three marriage equality bills before Parliament would affect those protections.