Gay marriage gets support


Attorney-General George Brandis is one of those who believe people should not be obliged to marry same-sex couples against the teachings of their church, but said exemptions needed to be regulated to prevent discrimination.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday 62 percent of registered adults who responded voted for the reform in an unprecedented survey.

Six hours after the vote result was announced, a private member's bill from Liberal senator Dean Smith which would legalise same-sex marriage - and includes religious exemptions - was introduced in the Senate.

In a poll for Lonergan Research, 49% said they support service workers being able to reject gay couples, such as refusing to bake their wedding cake.

The Senate has already begun debating the bill and proposing amendments.

'The Smith Bill supports the protection of religious freedoms in two key ways.

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Brandis wants to see further protections for people who did not want to be involved in same-sex marriages, extending the rights offering to religious ministers to civil marriage celebrants with a "conscientious objection" to same-sex marriage.

"There won't be a government position, there won't be a party position", Senator Cormann said.

It also seeks to protect freedom of speech and enacts a narrow anti-detriment clause, which would prevent governments and agencies taking adverse action against someone with a traditional view of marriage.

Meanwhile, Law Council of Australia president Fiona McLeod said on Monday the bill will encroach on many protections for LGBTI people in an "extraordinary and perilous way". Critics said it was unlikely to accurately reflect public opinion.

"If you are a gay man or a gay woman and you go into a florist and say "I'd like to buy a bunch of flowers", it's just wrong and illegal for florist to say "I don't" serve gay people" just as it would be wrong or illegal for the florist to say to an indigenous person "I don't serve indigenous people'".

"But everyone will have the opportunity to have their say and if they want to make a change here or improve it, or correct a defect from their point of view, they've got the opportunity to do it".

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Federal Parliament is facing a split over how to legislate same-sex marriage, with the scene set for a Senate showdown over religious protections and anti-discrimination laws on Thursday.

"There will no doubt be plenty of amendments the end of it they will come to a conclusion on an amended bill".

While gay marriage could be a reality in Australia by Christmas, some government lawmakers have vowed to vote down gay marriage regardless of the survey's outcome.

The conservative marriage bill had received widespread criticism and had been described as an attempt to roll back longstanding anti-discrimination laws.

It is expected that same-sex marriage will be legalised following the plebiscite, and the LGBT community is seeking an anti-gay "loophole" to be closed.

"We will wait to see what the final bill looks like before we give a firm commitment as to how we will vote".

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After a high no vote in western Sydney, the Labor MPs Jason Clare, Linda Burney, Tony Burke, Michelle Rowland and Ed Husic confirmed they would vote in favour of marriage equality, despite majorities against it in their electorates.