Leading national marriage equality advocacy groups Australians for Equality (A4E) & Australian Marriage Equality (AME) today welcomed the release of a consensus report from the Senate Select Committee on the Government's Draft Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.
"The release of this report today means we are a step closer to marriage equality in Australia," Co-Chair of Australians for Equality and Director of Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre Anna Brown said.
"Significantly, the report delivered a cross-party consensus on the issues that need to be addressed in the Marriage Amendment Bill including a number of sensible solutions to address concerns about religious freedom.
"We agree with Committee Chair Senator David Fawcett that fundamental rights must be considered, respected and balanced.
"We thank the members of the Committee for their determination to work together. The Senators have shown that we can rise above party politics and work across party lines to find a way forward on marriage equality.
"We will be going through the report in detail and working with all parties to get the legislation right and hope we can see marriage equality achieved this year.
"A key theme of the consensus report is how to allow loving and committed same-sex couples to marry, while providing assurances around the protection of the religious freedom," Co-Chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich said.
"This inquiry was established by the senate after the plebiscite was decisively voted down. It's clear and stated purpose was to look at the government's draft same-sex marriage bill and what changes would be needed to help it pass the senate.
"Marriage equality will not change anything for the vast majority of Australians but will make a profound difference to the status and dignity of LGBTI people.
"Our national campaign will continue to remind our MPs that fairness and equality are at the heart of Australian society. We are promoting some of the greatest human values - love, respect and happiness. This is good for our community and our nation," Mr Greenwich concluded.
"This is the first report that comes with a consensus position (on marriage equality). Nothing to fear, indeed nothing controversial" – Dean Smith
"The clouds of partisanship have parted" – Penny Wong
"This process has given me hope by working together we have shown a path to ending discrimination" – Janet Rice