More than 160 LGBTI organisations, leaders and supporters from around the country have signed a statement calling on the Australian Parliament to recognise the will of the people and ensure marriage equality is passed by the end of the year.
"As organisations, leaders and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities, following the resounding YES result in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, we call for the Parliament to pass marriage equality legislation as soon as possible.
"More than 7.8 million people said YES to marriage equality. The strong YES vote delivered a loud message – discrimination against LGBTI Australians must end. It is now time for our parliament to act and pass marriage equality this year," the joint statement says.
Signed by groups from around the country including ACON, Amnesty International Australia and state Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobbies as well as individuals including actor Magda Szubanski, the statement identifies the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill (2017) drafted by Government MPs and supported by the Opposition as the best way to achieve marriage equality by consensus.
The bill reflects the principles of the Report on the Commonwealth Government's Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill and has wide cross party support.
Anna Brown, from the Equality Campaign, said, "This united statement urges Parliament to act on the largest ever mandate for marriage equality delivered by the Australian people.
"The legislation introduced to parliament by Dean Smith strikes a fair balance between LGBTI couples having equal access to marriage and the need to ensure people can practice their religious beliefs."
The Equality Campaign's Alex Greenwich said, "Australians said yes to marriage equality, not to see the no side's talking points turned into amendments that give a licence to discriminate.
"Fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society and we believe our laws should reflect these values.
"The consensus bill has support across the government, opposition, and cross-bench and there should be no impediment to it passing now."