Happy Monday. Parliament resumed the debate over the same-sex marriage bill in the Senate today. Here’s a quick update on the debate and it’s relation to civil celebrants:
There was a push from Liberal senators James Paterson and David Fawcett to ensure that service providers who are opposed to gay marriage should be able to say no. However, late this afternoon, they halted the argument and instead flagged that they will introduce five other amendments, including having two definitions for marriage.
Currently, the definition of marriage in Australia is “between a man and women”. The Senators would like to add a separate definition that covers same-sex couples to say, “marriage is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others”.
Senator Dean Smith, who’s bill they are debating, allows for religious ministers to be able to refuse to conduct same-sex weddings, but senators Paterson and Fawcett want to extend that to civil marriage celebrants.
However, Greens senator Janet Rice has stated that civil celebrants should not be able to discriminate as a secular marriage rather than a religious marriage. She has been told that only about 3 per cent of existing civil celebrants had concerns about conducting same-sex marriages and that the Greens’ position is that “those celebrants, as civil celebrants, should have to abide by the laws of the land and so have to solemnise all weddings if approached to do so”.
Personally, I can’t wait until I can say that Australia recognises that “marriage is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others”, but that’s just me.
Stay tuned for more on the debate and it’s outcome!