PENNY Wong has slammed religious groups for standing in the way of marriage equality, the Huffington Post has reported.

Speaking in the Frank Walker Memorial Lecture yesterday, Wong said the fight for equality is not over in Australia. She called for action in a nation that considers itself secular.

“Many Australians are still asking: are we there yet?” Wong said. “And sadly the answer is still no.

“A policy issue that is one of the easiest to resolve politically languishes in the too-hard basket because of the intransigence of those who see it as their right to impose their personal views on the community as a whole.

“The journey towards equality has been long and arduous, and it is not yet over.”

Wong used the speech to talk about tradition and religion, saying these factors still affect secular debate around marriage equality.

“At the centre of the opposition to equality of marriage rights for gay and lesbian members of the community is the conflation of religious concepts of marriage with secular concepts of marriage,” she said.

“Religious attitudes to marriage continue to impact on much of the political debate that has delayed the recognition of the marriage equality rights of the gay and lesbian community.

“The problem with this, of course, is the application of religious belief to the framing of law in a secular society, and in societies where church and state are constitutionally separate.”

Wong stated that Labor is “fundamentally opposed to the oppression of anyone on the grounds of their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs”.

“Religious freedom means being free to worship and to follow your faith without suffering persecution or discrimination for your beliefs,” she said.

“It does not mean imposing your beliefs on everyone else.”

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