AUSTRALIA: Liberal MPs Ready Marriage Equality Bill

Australia’s public broadcaster reports:

A private members’ bill, supported by Dean Smith [photo], Trent Zimmerman, Warren Entsch, Trevor Evans and Tim Wilson, has been circulated ahead of a special party room meeting on the issue in Canberra on Monday afternoon. The legislation would allow two people to marry regardless of their sex or gender.

It also would protect all religious ministers and civil celebrants from legal action if they refuse to marry same-sex couples, and covers service providers – such as bakers, florists and photographers – if they can prove their business is linked to a religious body.

Gay marriage campaigners have welcomed Liberal senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill calling it strong and robust. Australian Marriage Equality co-chair Alex Greenwich welcomed the bill as the strongest yet on the issue.

“It’s a strong bill. It’s a bill which is designed to allow same sex couples access to civil marriage, while respecting the religious protection of marriage. So this is a bill which we hope will gain support, not only from the government partyroom, but indeed from the entire parliament.”

From the Daily Mail:

A Liberal senator says the death of Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson made him support gay marriage. Mr Johnson was murdered at the end of a 16-hour terror siege in December 2014, leaving behind his long-term partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn.

West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith, who is also gay, said the death of the 34-year-old Sydney cafe manager convinced him of the need for gay marriage. ‘His life was taken in such a tragic way,’ he told the ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

‘That moved me and it just reinforced my resolve and I came to the conclusion very quickly, with great clarity, that it’s now time to legislate by parliamentary vote same-sex marriage in Australia.’

  • Ninja0980

    Time to join the 21st century Australia!
    May we be celebrating marriage equality there by the end of the week!

  • Do Something Nice

    Good news!

    And OT: MAGA – “American tourist arrested for rant at Palma [Mallorca, Spain] Cathedral attendant who spoke no English”

    • JT

      Something weird is going on with that link.

    • That link created some odd pop-ups. I had to shut down chrome through task manager to get out of it!

      • Gustav2

        The link set off so many alarms it made he neighbor’s dog bark.

      • Do Something Nice

        Changed link to something less “troublesome.”

    • barrixines

      Just to check I hit that link twice – second time was fine but it is indeed linking to a whole lot of spam and malware.

      • Do Something Nice

        Thanks – just changed to another source.

        • barrixines

          I was looking at the other stories there. One about Marbella cracking down on Brit holiday makers lowering the tone. Of Marbella?

          • Do Something Nice

            Yes, because without Brits, it would be a fucking temple of tranquility, right?

    • Hue-Man

      Recent coverage from Europe is that Barcelona and Mallorca residents are objecting to the massive number of foreign tourists. This can’t help…

      • Do Something Nice

        And in Valencia too. But there is a youth group affiliated with a political party that has resorted to vandalism and that’s not cool.

  • JT
  • Boreal

    ‘It’s time’, which I saw a few years ago, always brings a tear to my eye.

  • BearEyes

    It is time.
    Exempting the churches I understand – to a point. Not comfortable with the religious loophole for civil servants though. I doubt straights have a similar loophole.

    • Ninja0980

      I agree.
      If your religious beliefs prevent you from doing your job, find another one.

      • Adam King

        Or educate yourself out of your nasty beliefs.

        • Sarahdpayne


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    • MBear

      “Okay, political pressure is forcing us to let you nancy boys get mirried, bit we shore as poop ain’t funna lit you be ennymore then second class”

    • La’Kietha

      You should have seen all the clauses to the English version. They had clauses so that the gay spouse royal had no power, etc. Sad

      But how did Australia and Canada become so different as far as peoples rights and respect for all?

      • canoebum

        The French.

      • OdieDenCO

        it’s not called the opposite end of the earth just because of location. 😛

      • Hue-Man

        In Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was made part of the Constitution in 1982 – thank you, Pierre Elliott Trudeau! Unconstitutional laws can be challenged in court. The UK has no written constitution and Australia’s contains only limited human rights protections.

      • The New Paige Turner™

        Convicts and stuff.

        • Bluto

          We got the short end of that stick. Oz got the convicts while we got the religious nutters.

      • Adam King

        Poisonous insects.

      • ChrisMorley

        Bonkers bigot amendments were proposed by bigots to the government’s draft law for England and Wales as it went through Parliament.
        Marriage equality legislation forced a lot of nutters to show their heads and put their preferred version of bigotry into writing.

        Bonkers bigots’ amendments were roundly defeated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
        This is how a parliamentary democracy works.

    • JT

      I wonder if they’ll allow “Aryan xtians” to use that loophole about mixed race marriages.

      • BearEyes

        thus the inherent danger of such loopholes.

      • narutomania

        I have pointed to that very same potential situation during several discussions about civil marriage and the far right’s obsession with such hurtful and problematic escape clauses.

        Who is to define just how “sincere” a religious belief has to be? I mean, what measuring stick are we going to use? Do I have to register my beliefs ahead of time? Can I be a recent convert to a so-called religion or do I have to have practiced my hate for a minimum period of time before I can foist my beliefs upon fellow citizens through my job in the public sector?

        (Also: Let’s call it what it is. It is an “escape clause”. A loophole is something that wily lawyers find in a law that wasn’t necessarily meant to be there. An escape clause is placed there on purpose so people can essentially get out of jail free.)

  • OdieDenCO

    It’s time has come the Aussi said, lets talk of many things
    of shoes and ships and marriage equalities of cabbages and kings!
    and why the right is boiling hot
    and whether donny has wings?

    • Acronym Jim

      *gazes into crystal ballgag*

      In your future I see…….a visit by a handsome man who will give you an upvote. His name will start with a ‘V’ and sound similar to the gem that is famously mined in Australia. He also has a big “sword” and knows how to wield it well.

  • JT

    5 out of the top 6 news stories on google are sports related? WTF?

  • JT


    Vladimir Putin’s Summer Vacation: A Siberia Scrapbook

    It would be better if it were from a gulag where he was locked up.

  • barrixines

    I can foresee every bigot baker signing up to a hastily created not-for-profit Association of Christian Retailers which will be deemed as a religious body.

    • Adam King

      At least decent people will know ahead of time which retailers are the bigots so they can avoid giving them business.

  • bambinoitaliano

    The so call protection for religion institution is a demand for exemption to operate century old scam with impunity. At best it’s a personal hobby amounts to chasing after Sasquatch and Lochness Monster, an entertaining pass time that should not accord nor equate with civil right. Religion institution deserve no more protection than theater and cinema operators just because they cater to a population who seeks to enlighten with ancient scripted lore.

  • PickyPecker

    At least things appear to be moving somewhat forward down-under. Well past due. Get it done and do it right! (waves good morning to all)

    • Nychta

      Good morning! Sipping on coffee now, so the immediate danger has passed at my house.

  • bcarter3

    A reminder: In Australia, the Liberal Party is the major party on the right of the political spectrum, and the Labour Party is the major party on the left.

    To really simplify things, the Liberals are like the GOP, and Labour is like the Dems.

    • The New Paige Turner™

      Well put.

      Keep in mind that the Liberals are a coalition with the Nationals who are the country party so sheep and cows and things. They are very conservative folks.

      • fuow

        Australians are very conservative folks – it’s just by comparison to the insanely right-wing politics of the US that they appear to be centre-left.

        • You often say that, but have you ever heard of Justin Standley?

          No, I hadn’t either: but a couple of days ago I was tumblring and a picture of a rather woofy man, um, displaying his charms caught my eye. It was captioned “isn’t that Justin Handley, the Australian country-music singer?”
          Well, country isn’t my kind of music, but I went a-googling and yes, that’s him — he has a distinctive eagle-with rainbow-flag tattoo — and he turns out to be one of this country’s most admired and successful country singers. He comes from Bundaberg in Queensland (red-neck country) but that, and the extraordinary debut on The X Factor that propelled him into the public eye a few years ago, don’t seem to have blighted his career. Watch here: and yes, the story does have a happy ending.

  • Hue-Man

    We would all prefer limiting religious exemptions to churches not having to perform wedding ceremonies. Politics isn’t pretty.

  • The New Paige Turner™

    OK – I can live with the religious carve out.

    Churches don’t have the influence they do in the USA except for education and they have a dispensation now anyway for straights based on divorce, religion etc so its no big deal

    Just get it done guys. This is over time now.

    • Nychta

      I thought about that, wondering how the general public would feel if someone refused to provide wedding services to straight couples. Hadn’t known about the religious exemption based on divorce. That still doesn’t make me feel any better, though, about religious exemptions around provided services for gay or lesbian couples.

      • Ben in Oakland

        Personally, I think those religious exemptions will eventually bAckfire, big time.

      • Friday

        It sounds like the special exemptions are pretty redundant with how they already do it, there. Of course the Christianists will find some way to keep whining how ‘oppressed’ they are by someone else’s wedding, but I think this’ll probably get her done considering there’s just been the one PM obstructing civil justice there.

  • Robincho

    Being slower and stupider on this topic than even the USA is not exactly a badge of honour. Snap out of it, Ozzies!…

  • Octavio

    Hope it passes.

  • Hue-Man

    I watched the Australian mini-series Deep Water (2016) last week (imdb 6.9). Recommended but definitely make sure you’ve taken your hypertension meds!
    I may have to watch The Sum of Us (1994) to make up for it!

  • Adam

    It also would protect all religious ministers and civil celebrants from legal action if they refuse to marry same-sex couples, and covers service providers – such as bakers, florists and photographers – *if they can prove their business is linked to a religious body*.

    Finally, religious exemptions done reasonably. No Hobby Lobby pls.

    • Ben in Oakland

      Give them their fucking religious exemptions, and then boycott and yelp the hell out of them

  • Hank

    Watch the last video: Its Time – I would marry either of them!!!

    • Ben in Oakland

      I’d marry both.

      Just don’t tell my husband.

  • Lane

    Oh, god. That advert again. EVERY. DAMN. TIME. Onions or dust or allergies or something.

  • James

    The part about protecting civil celebrants sucks. They’re registered and authorised by the government and shouldn’t be able to refuse to perform the service they exist to offer.

  • Regan DuCasse

    I loved that marriage equality spot. It’s got to be about six years old now, I think.
    What’s with Australia?
    Most of the Western countries, South Africa…have been on board for so long. NZ did it about five years ago.
    And it was so beautiful when they did.
    Southern Ireland a few years ago, I think.
    It’s WAY past time…
    Can’t they see how well all the nations with marriage equality have done?

    • KnownDonorDad

      Ireland was the first time a nation legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote (although it was preceded in the U.S. by Maryland, Maine, and Washington’s popular vote wins). And New Zealand’s was an amazing moment:

  • KnownDonorDad

    Finland, Germany, Malta, and Australia in one year would be nice.

  • JCF

    Good on ya, mate! Go! Go! Go!

  • billbear1961

    So, is it basically the case that the PM is “pulling a Merkel” and getting out of the way of a free vote? (of course, in HIS case, he’ll probably vote FOR equality since he says he’s in favour of it).

    • Party before country, Antipodean edition — he’ll vote against it.

      • Bill Davis

        Then, the man’s a baldfaced LIAR.

        • Liar is such an inelegant word. But you bald-faced is simple truth: he does indeed shave both his faces.

      • billbear1961

        Sorry–I forgot I was logged in as Bill Davis on Political Wire!

  • billbear1961

    I don’t understand why CIVIL celebrants will be allowed to refuse to do their CIVIL duty, allowed to refuse government services to tax payers just because a couple requesting the service is gay. (I assume government will make sure SOMEONE is always available to serve gay tax payers who want to marry!)

    But if the equality campaigners are okay with it . . .

    • I think we’ll find that very few of the Civil Marriage Celebrants will discover religious objections and the law will soon become a dead letter.

      • billbear1961

        Roger, is there any reason to believe a free vote will not now take place, since the PM has said these liberals may cross the floor?

        And if a free vote occurs, won’t it succeed with most or all of the opposition voting yes, along with quite a few liberals?

        How many liberals are needed to ensure victory? It can’t be very many since the government has such a tiny majority.

        Won’t the 4 ready to cross the floor be enough? And aren’t there likely more?

        Wouldn’t a failure at this point be a nasty disaster? People are getting quite excited about equality at this point, aren’t they?

      • billbear1961

        Never mind, Roger. My questions are no longer relevant.

        There will be no free vote.

        They are disgusting bigots and cowards!

        • For what it’s worth, my immediate reaction is that this will cost the Coalition the next election. But then, what do I know?

          Listen to Warren Entsch on all this:

          • billbear1961

            If a few Liberal MPs–at least 3 of those who wanted a free vote–leave the party and sit as independents, they can bring the Coalition down NOW, Roger.

          • Yes, they could; but I don’t think they will. Sure, they would deprive the Coalition of its one-seat majority — but who would they align themselves with? My guess is that, this issue aside, they’ll vote with the government and thereby keep it in power. Meanwhile the Mad Monk is in the wings and itching to get back into the Lodge…

          • billbear1961

            Do they have to align themselves with anyone?

            They can vote their conscience on every issue, and tell their constituents so.

  • billbear1961

    Just one more post to celebrate the progress!

    • I was this morning, and I did see your posts, but what with one thing and another I didn’t get a chance to listen to your music. My apologies!

      Apart from its beauty, the Lully is an apt choice, Mr Bear. Music of celebration by a leading gay composer!

      I was looking for — guess who — singing the perfect music for the occasion, Da Breve Riposo in which Handel has his Alexander the Great asking the Gods to allow him just a brief respite from a life of battles to enjoy the delights of Love. But the clip seems to have vanished from Youtube. Drat!!
      But, if you care to cut into the complete Versailles production of Alessandro at the 1 hour 10 minute mark or a little before, you might enjoy the rather campy scene in which Sabata (singing Tesilo the King of India) sidelines the vainglorious (and very drunk) Alexander and usurps the aria (and the dancing girls) for himself. (Subtitles in French)

      • billbear1961



  • William Tigano

    Good lord. The last of the liberal western democracies to the party. C’mon Aussies!