Australia: Liberal MPs Prepare To Vote On Marriage Equality

Australia: Liberal MPs Prepare To Vote On Marriage Equality

Openly gay West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith has begun circulating a bill, a “private member’s bill,” that would legalize marriage between two people in Australia regardless of their gender.

The legislation would allow protections for those who perform weddings to refuse to participate in same-sex marriage celebrations based on religious beliefs. Additionally, wedding industry service providers like bakers, photographers, and florists would be able to legally opt-out based on religious beliefs IF they can prove the business is linked to a religious body.

The bill has been released in advance of a special party room meeting scheduled for Monday in Canberra.

Smith told ABC’s Insiders that the death of a gay 34-year-old Lindt cafe manager in Sydney during a 16-hour terror attack in December 2014 convinced him that marriage equality needs to become a reality. The manager’s partner was left behind in legal limbo even though they had been together for 14 years.

Marriage equality supporters have asked Parliament to approve same-sex marriage for years.

But Prime Minister Turnbull supports a public vote on the matter, a “plebiscite.” But opponents argue a plebiscite would be very costly and, in the end, not legally binding.

Nine News Australia has this report:

Seems like a good time to revisit this terrific video from GetUp! Australia back in 2011. Over 16 million views, and still powerful.

It is time, Australia. It’s time.