Today the Senate passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill. The Bill, to amend the Marriage Act, passed 43-12 following days of debate.
Anna Brown, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre and Co-Chair of the Equality Campaign, said Australia was now a step closer to equality for all.
“This is a historic day for the LGBTI community, their friends and families. The Australian people voted overwhelmingly for fairness and equality. And today the Australian Senate did too. Every Australian should be treated equally under the law and that includes being able to marry the person they love,” said Ms Brown.
The last two days has seen a raft of amendments proposed from One Nation, Independents and Coalition Senators which would have wound back existing discrimination protections for LGBTI Australians. The Bill passed largely unchanged.
“During the debate we saw history being made with LGBTI members from all major parties leading the charge. Our supporters in Parliament stared down efforts by religious conservatives to introduce new forms of discrimination against LGBTI people.
“When Australia voted yes, it was a yes for true equality for all Australians and not a licence to increase discrimination. The entire purpose of anti-discrimination protections is to ensure that we are all treated fairly and equally in public regardless of who we are or who we love,” said Ms Brown.
“This victory is the culmination of more than a decade’s work by supporters of equality. Each and every person who has campaigned for equality, each Australian that stood up and voted yes, and, today, every Senator from every political party that voted in favour of equality, fairness and love.
“Next week the Bill moves to the House of Representatives and we urge the parliament to get on with it so Australia can move forward as a fairer and more equal nation. Australians are not interested in delaying marriage equality any longer. Let’s get this done,” said Ms Brown.
For interviews or further information please call:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519