Now what happens politically?
The results are in. The 'yes' vote has prevailed.
Senator Paterson has folded his bill & now there will be amendments to the Smith Bill. Senator Paterson said:
“I am very pleased with the strong "Yes" result today. At last, same sex couples will be able to get married, as I have long advocated.
The parliament must now quickly pass a bill to legalise same sex marriage. It is clear the majority of senators believe my colleague Senator Dean Smith's Bill is where we should start.
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.”
The Prime Minister has said a yes result will allow a private member's Bill to be introduced to the parliament to allow for same sex marriage.
The Senate sits this week, the lower house then returns on the 27th of November for the last sitting fortnight for the year.
The immediate issue is which private member’s Bill would go forward – the two contenders are the Dean Smith Bill or the James Paterson Bill. Both Smith and Paterson are supportive of same sex marriage and each Bill would enable that change. However the Paterson Bill has more reasonable protections for religious freedom. The Bill recognises that these freedoms belong to all people, not just professional clergy, and that a redefinition of marriage has implications beyond the wedding ceremony itself. We would hope that the Paterson Bill and the freedoms it seeks to protect will be carefully considered by Parliament, and that any law that does not address those freedoms will not be supported.
Once a Bill is introduced it will face the normal amendment process. The challenging issue for the parliament is this – if the law on marriage changes, how should the law deal with those whose beliefs on marriage will not change? It would be a mistake to cast this issue too narrowly – as though this only arose for ministers conducting a wedding. Every reasonable person agrees they should be protected. What though of schools who wish to teach their faith position on marriage? Or the Catholic adoption agency that believes a child should have a mother and a father? The international experience warns us against being naïve about the consequences that may flow.
What you can do to help:
Call your local MP and explain why it is important that they only support a bill that ensures that freedoms are appropriately protected. We recommend your read Neil Foster's article comparing the two possible marriage bills.
Stay informed about how you and your church can update its policies, statements of doctrine etc., to protect your freedom to preach the Gospel. Again, Neil Fosters article is a great resource
Keep our parliamentarians and our country in your prayers
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”(1 Tim 2.1)
Operations Manager | Freedom for Faith
Freedom for Faith is a legal think tank that protects and promotes religious freedom in Australia and beyond.