Gay marriage bill introduced to parliament

Gay marriage bill introduced to parliament

Mr Brandis said parliament would start the debate on same-sex marriage legalisation with Senator Smith's bill, if a "yes" vote is victorious.

Same-sex marriage is on track to be legalised before Christmas after draft laws were introduced to the Senate.

Debates are expected to kick off with Senator Dean Smith's bill.

Attorney-General George Brandis has labelled same-sex marriage a "very, very important human rights reform".

Brandis told the Senate that parliamentarians would "have their own views" about protections of religious freedom and conscience.

"I will now work constructively with my parliamentary colleagues over the coming weeks on amendments to ensure that the strongest possible protections for the freedoms of all Australians are enshrined in the final legislation", he said.

Labor's caucus has already passed a motion supporting the Smith bill as an acceptable balance between marriage equality and religious freedom.

Paterson's bill, which has been roundly criticised by marriage equality supporters, would allow churches and celebrants to refuse to solemnise a same sex wedding, establish a limited right of conscientious objection so no-one is forced to participate in a same-sex wedding against their sincerely held beliefs, and would allow parents to take their children out of classes that conflict with their values.

"I've never believed that allowing same-sex couples to marry needs to come at the expense of the freedoms of other Australians".

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Labor Senate leader Penny Wong condemned the Paterson backers.

"The consensus position was the position that the Greens would support", he said, saying senators should "think very very carefully about entrenching discrimination to support your colleagues rather than this bill".

Significant ground was given on all sides and the Greens made significant concessions Di Natale said, to create the cross-party Smith bill.

There is also a deadline for the bill's passage by 30 November.

Debate continues when the Senate resumes sitting on November 27, taking precedence over government business as well.

"If there is a Yes result on Wednesday, Australians will have voted for true equality for all Australians - not an unfettered right to discriminate for people who voted No", said HRLC director of legal advocacy, Anna Brown.

Senator Brandis added that the amendment was not, nor was there, a government position on the matter.

"If the Australian people do vote yes, they're not going to look kindly on the same group of people who have urged a 'no" vote not accepting the outcome and trying to delay further, ' she said. Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod said his proposal "goes well beyond the issue of marriage in a number of crucial respects".

Fellow Liberal Dean Smith also has a private bill ready for parliament.

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