Submission to the draft Marriage Equality bill

Download this submission:
Submission to the Commonwealth Government’s exposure draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill (PDF, 130 KB, 13 January 2017).

The Science Party is proud of its involvement in the push for marriage equality in Australia. Our latest effort is this submission which argues that civil celebrants should not have the right to refuse to perform a marriage on the basis that a couple is not made up of one man and one woman.

We accept religious ministers and celebrants having the right to refuse to perform a marriage in their religious tradition if the union would be genuinely incompatible with their faith. Civil celebrants, however, essentially provide a business service. Neither the Science Party nor Australian society accepts businesses being able to refuse service on the basis of a potential customer's sexual orientation.

In our submission we also objected to the wording of the bill, which put forward that certain celebrants may refuse to perform a marriage for any religious reason, and then singled out "because the marriage is not the union of a man and a woman" as an allowable reason for refusing to perform a marriage. This completely unnecessary line did not change the substance of the bill in any way. It appeared to have been included purely for show, and could only perpetuate negative attitudes towards non-heterosexual relationships.

For as long as marriage is a civil institution recognised by the government, all couples must have the same opportunity to partake in marriage, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

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