The Senate has delivered a consensus report on the government's draft exposure marriage equality Bill, providing a path for marriage equality to happen in this Parliament.
"This unprecedented show of collaboration, negotiation and consensus has given us a way forward to achieve marriage equality in this Parliament," said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson and member of the Committee.
"The Greens took to the table a respect for the rights of people of faith, but we did not waver in our view that these must not be at the expense of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians."
The Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same‑Sex Marriage) Bill built consensus around a number of key issues:
- Creating a new category of independent religious celebrants to cater for those people with religious beliefs who want to solemnise marriages within their faith
- Not introducing new religious freedom or 'conscientious objection' provisions that would expand current laws
- Anti-discrimination laws should be reviewed to better balance freedom of and from religion
"The time for marriage equality is long overdue. For all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer Australians and their families, this gives us hope that the wait is close to over," said Senator Rice.
"Now, the Coalition and Labor party, who urged us to stick with consensus in the committee despite our concerns, must work with us and deliver on a Bill and the votes that will get it through Parliament."