The Senate has passed the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 (the Bill) to legalise same-sex marriage.
The Bill was introduced into the Senate on 15 November 2017, and was passed on 29 November 2017 with only technical amendments to ensure consistency with other Commonwealth laws. The Bill will now go before the House of Representatives.
The Bill would amend the definition of marriage in the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) to provide that marriage is between two people.
Dealing with concerns about religious freedom, the Bill would allow ministers of religion, “religious marriage celebrants” and Australian Defence Force chaplains to refuse to solemnise a marriage in accordance with their religious beliefs.
It would also allow “bodies established for religious purposes” to refuse to make a facility available, or to provide goods or services in relation to the solemnisation of a marriage, if the refusal “conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of the religion of the body” or “is necessary to avoid injury to the religious susceptibilities of adherents of that religion”.
Find out about the the background to the Bill: “Yes” result in same-sex marriage survey – what’s next?
Follow the progress of the Bill and other equal opportunity legislation via the Wolters Kluwer (CCH) Au & NZ Equal Opportunity Law and Practice Reporter.