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Same-sex marriage bill set to pass the Senate Today

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A BILL to legalise same-sex marriage bill will likely be passed in the Senate today after major changes were rejected.

by Stephen

taken from news.com.au

“By passing this bill, we are saying to those vulnerable young people: there is nothing wrong with you. You are not unusual. You are not abnormal. You are just you. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.”

THE bill to legalise same-sex marriage looks set to pass the Senate today without any major changes.

Attorney-General George Brandis has said he is confident the bill will pass the Upper House today.

Conservative Liberal MPs had proposed a range of amendments to the bill but they were not supported.

Today amendments from Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Greens will be debated.

One Nation’s amendments also cover celebrants, as do Senator Leyonhjelm’s. He also wants to give businesses the right to refuse to service same-sex weddings.

The Greens amendments, set to be opposed by Labor, include a provision to ensure state and territory anti-discrimination laws will be limited, as well as make it harder for civil celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples.

Labor has refused to accept any major amendments and wants to pass the bill unaltered, arguing that it already has cross-party support.

Changes proposed by conservative Liberal senators were blocked yesterday after moderate government senators voted with Labor and the Greens, increasing the chance the legislation will pass through the upper house unchanged.

Earlier, a handful of Labor senators who are against same-sex marriage confirmed they would vote against the final bill.

Senators Don Farrell, Helen Polley and Chris Ketter will all oppose the legislation, while Jacinta Collins has been given a pair, meaning she will not have to vote.

The bill introduced by Liberal Senator Dean Smith is being co-sponsored by eight other senators from Labor, Greens, NXT and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. It was developed by a Senate Select Committee after consultation and three public hearings.

The initial debate wrapped up earlier on Tuesday, making it the first time either house of federal parliament had cast a vote in favour of same-sex marriage.

“At last, Australia will no longer be insulting gay people by saying different rules apply to you,” Senator Brandis told his upper house colleagues.

“After centuries of prejudice, discrimination, rejection and ridicule, it is both an expiation for past wrongs and a final act of acceptance and embrace.

“By passing this bill, we are saying to those vulnerable young people there is nothing wrong with you. You are not unusual. You are not abnormal. You are just you,” he said.

CHANGES REJECTED

After supporting technical tweaks proposed by the government, Labor and the Greens held to their promise to oppose other amendments.

Liberal senators James Paterson and David Fawcett wanted to create two definitions of marriage for people to chose from: one between a “man and a woman” and the other between “two people”. But their changes were not supported.

They also wanted to allow parents to remove their children from schools that taught material inconsistent with their views of marriage, and provide protections for doctors and teachers so they could not be deregistered for their beliefs.

Other amendments rejected were those suggested by Senator Brandis and co-author Senator Matt Canavan to protect religious freedoms and allow marriage celebrants to refuse to marry gay couples on religious grounds.

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