Decision day for same sex marriage in Australia

Joe Spagnolo believes many people have had enough of the same-sex marriage debate

WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith to introduce same-sex marriage bill this week

Sen. Dean Smith, a member of the ruling Liberal Party (which is actually conservative), drafted a bill with bipartisan support that would give religious officials the power to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Senator Smith is aiming to introduce his bill to the upper house on Thursday.

'While the Law Council does not endorse every detail of the Smith Bill it represents a better balance from a human rights perspective and represents greater fairness, including those affected by winding back anti-discrimination laws, ' Ms McLeod said.

Should the survey return a "yes" vote, the Australian government are expected to debate a number of proposed exemptions to the law.

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Noting that there were three weeks of vaccines left in the country, McGoldrick said "humanitarian supplies are dangerously low".

"But the polls have been pretty consistent and it really does seem that in commentary right across the political spectrum the expectation is that there will be a "yes" vote", she said. Any amendments to the bill will be reserved for that sitting week.

If the result is Yes, Liberal and Labor MPs will have a free vote in Parliament.

Ms McLeod said the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, endorsed by five government members including Senator Dean Smith, already extended existing protections for freedom of religious expression in the context of marriage and was a reasonable compromise.

The bill would also allow parents to remove their children from any classes they believed contained content that did not meet their beliefs about marriage. We know that's the real slippery slope, when you unravel anti-discrimination protections, and I don't think Australian people want that.

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Senator Smith's bill draws on the recommendations of a Senate committee and has the backing of the other prominent same-sex marriage supporters on the Coalition backbench: Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans, Warren Enstch and Tim Wilson. But then after the marriage ceremony, the Bill remains silent on what happens if, say, a school teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way'.

Turnbull has endorsed a bill that would allow churches to refuse to officiate same-sex marriages.

Senator Paterson told the ABC in his view it would be wrong for a shop to erect a sign saying "no gays", but it would be okay if the sign said "no gay weddings". "From what we've seen so far this is just another attempt to delay passing marriage equality", he said.

"There will be no he or she, no husband or wife, no father, mother - all these words will be gone", the Perth-based Christian pastor said.

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