Equality Groups jointly call for consultation on draft Liberal Marriage Equality Bill

Parliament House Canberra at EnlightenThree key advocacy groups have welcomed reports that Government backbenchers, Dean Smith and Trent Zimmermann, are drafting marriage equality legislation but have called for immediate consultation on the legislation, including any proposals for religious exemptions.

The reports suggest the bill contains exemptions for civil celebrants which is strongly opposed by the LGBTI community and by many civil celebrants.

“It’s great to see Government members moving marriage equality forward, but marriage equality and the caveats attached to it affect all LGBTI people and our families, so it’s vital there is consultation on this bill as soon as possible,” said Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome.

“Earlier this year, the largest LGBTI community survey of its kind ever conducted in Australia found overwhelming opposition to exemptions for civil celebrants and other service providers, even if it means we have to wait for marriage equality.”

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays national spokesperson, Shelley Argent, agreed saying “I congratulate Dean Smith and Trent Zimmermann for drafting legislation and pushing for a free vote, and I’m pleased to see the lobbying and campaigning of so many parents paying off. But I also want there to be consultation asap. We don’t want to see any back room deals done on an issue that impacts our children so deeply.”

Felicity Marlowe of Rainbow Families Victoria said “The equality in ‘marriage equality’ is very important to our rainbow families and we are against anything which compromises that equality.”

“Parliament’s winter break provides an excellent opportunity for extensive community consultation on the draft bill. We are very happy to meet and provide feedback on the proposed bill with Senator Smith and Mr Zimmermann, and in fact any parliamentarian keen to work with us to achieve marriage equality sooner rather than later.”

For more information on the LGBTI community survey on refusal of service proposals, visit: www.equal.org.au for details.

Image: Parliament House, Canberra