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Same-sex marriage bill introduced to Parliament

After an outstanding ‘yes’vote of 61.6%, George Brandis Attorney-General moved the bill into the Senate, Mr Brandis noted that there was no Government position on the bill.

Senator Smith’s bill, has cross-party support and contains provisions so that ministers of religion could not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages

The Smith bill provides protections for religious ministers that they would not be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

The bill seeks to “redefine marriage as ‘a union of two people’; introduce non-gendered language so that the requirements of the Act apply equally to all marriages; enable same-sex marriages that have been, or will be, solemnised under the law of a foreign country to be recognised in Australia; amend the definition of ‘authorised celebrant’ to include new categories of religious marriage celebrants and certain Australian Defence Force officers; enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments contingent on the commencement of the proposed Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2017; and Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.”

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