As Australia Crafts Marriage Equality Laws, ‘Religious Freedom’ Clauses Are Point Of Contention


Lydia O’Connor writes at the Huffington Post:

While the fight to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia crossed a major hurdle Wednesday, the path to creating legislation is only just beginning.

Australians overwhelmingly voted in favor of marriage equality, with 61.6 percent of those surveyed voting yes and 38.4 percent voting against it. The survey results were cause for massive celebration across Australia, one of the last major holdouts in the fight for marriage equality. But there won’t be any change to the nation’s marriage laws until Parliament finishes writing, debating and passing legislation.

Although the survey results are nonbinding and Parliament theoretically doesn’t need to act on the survey results, they are moving forward with the process. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the right-leaning Liberal Party, said he’d like to see legislation passed by Christmas that overturns the 2004 declaration defining marriage as a union of “a man and a woman.”

The future of same-sex marriage in Australia now hinges on the language in the new law ― which likely will include some concessions to conservative causes ― and how members of Parliament decide to vote.

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