Mar­riage equality bill in the wings

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - JOE SPAGNOLO

WA Lib­eral Se­na­tor Dean Smith will make his­tory this week, con­firm­ing he will in­tro­duce his same-sex mar­riage bill on Thurs­day — one day af­ter the re­sult of the postal sur­vey is an­nounced.

On Wed­nes­day, Aus­tralia will fi­nally know how more than 12 mil­lion peo­ple voted in the eight-week poll, with a Yes re­sult mean­ing gay cou­ples could get mar­ried be­fore Christ­mas.

Se­na­tor Smith last night told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun his Mar­riage Amend­ment (Def­i­ni­tions and Re­li­gious Free­doms) Bill 2017 would be tabled in par­lia­ment the fol­low­ing day.

“I am sure the great ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralians share my view — if a Yes vote is an­nounced, the par­lia­men­tary de­bate should be­gin at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity,” Se­na­tor Smith said.

“Af­ter a cost of $122 mil­lion, and over two months of cam­paign­ing and years of pub­lic dis­cus­sion, it makes no sense to de­lay a par­lia­men­tary de­bate.

“Aus­tralians up­held their end of the bar­gain by vot­ing en masse — now it’s time for par­lia­ment to up­hold its end of the same deal.”

Se­na­tor Smith said as the Se­nate was sit­ting last week, it made “no sense” to de­lay mak­ing mar­riage equality law in Aus­tralia.

“Be­gin­ning the de­bate in the Se­nate al­lows the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to de­bate the bill in its last two sit­ting weeks of the year.”

WA Lib­eral MP Ian Good­e­nough said a dozen con­ser­va­tives were work­ing on an al­ter­na­tive bill that would of­fer more pro­tec­tions for Aus­tralians who did not sup­port same-sex mar­riage. The bill could also be in­tro­duced into the Se­nate this week.

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