Conscientious Objectors Protected Under Alternate Same-Sex Marriage Bill

On the eve of the Australian nation-wide same-sex marriage postal plebiscite announcement, a second proposed bill has been drafted by the Liberal party for the introduction to parliament.

Conservative senator James Paterson from Victoria has compiled a 34-page bill designed to protect service providers if they hold a “conscientious belief” in traditional marriage and wish to refuse service to same-sex couples if the Marriage Act is changed, contrary to the countries current already well established anti-discrimination laws.

The bill goes further from the Marriage Act to include the Safe Schools Program in a clause that will allow parents the right to remove their children from classes if they believe the values being taught do not match their view of marriage.

Paterson’s bill will be taken to the Liberals’ party room when it meets in two weeks and will present it as an alternative against Liberal ­senator Dean Smith’s bill that has the support of the Labor Party and ‘Yes’ vote campaign organisation Australian Marriage Equality.

“If the parliament opts for a narrower bill with fewer protections, I fear we will see some Australians seek to impose their values on others, with court cases and other legal mechanisms. No one should want to see the messy court cases that have occurred after same-sex marriage was legalised in other countries,” Senator Paterson told The Australian.

Speculation from Canberra suggests that there are plans to table the Dean Smith’s bill in the Senate as early as Wednesday if needed ‘Yes’ vote wins ­the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite.



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