Liberty Victoria welcomes the government's exposure draft marriage equality bill, but calls for religious exemptions to be removed, not expanded. Announced along with the failed plebiscite legislation, it is now subject of a Senate Inquiry.
Liberty is pleased the bill would replace the discriminatory “one man and one woman” with a simple “2 people”, and would recognise overseas marriages banned by the 2004 amendments, whenever they took place.
Liberty calls for a similar recognition for couples who have made their public commitment to a shared life in Australia, for example by a State register scheme, enabling their commitments to become and be recorded as marriage, again whenever they took place.
While Liberty supports the Marriage Act's section 47, which gives religious celebrants complete discretion as to who they will marry, this is ample to respect religious freedom, and the additional licence the Exposure Draft would give is insulting, unnecessary and contrary to the Bill’s purpose.
Equality means just that, and equality hedged with broad and novel restrictions is not equality.
Liberty Vice President, Jamie Gardiner appeared at the public hearing in Melbourne on 23 January 2017. You can read his comments here.