AUSTRALIANS have voted overwhelmingly to legislate for same-sex marriage: 62 per cent of voters approved the proposition in a voluntary postal survey in which almost 80 per cent of eligible voters took part. The “Yes” case had majority support in every Australian state and territory.
Legislation to change the Marriage Act has been introduced into Parliament. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who strongly supported the “Yes” case, said that Australians had “voted yes for love and fairness”.
“It is up to us here in the Parliament of Australia to get on with it, get on with the job the Australian people have tasked us to do, and get this done,” he said. “This year, before Christmas — that must be our commitment.”
A small group of conservative members of the Coalition Government, however, are agitating for legislation that will provide a wide range of exemptions for religious and conscientious objectors. Opponents, who support the milder Bill now before Parliament, say that the conservative option will involve removing significant anti-discrimination laws.
The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, while respecting the decision of the Australian people, has supported wide-ranging exemptions. “The Parliament needs to recognise that more than one in three Australians are opposed to this change,” he said. “Therefore, protecting individual freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of faith — need to be balanced with the move to address same-sex marriage.”
The diocese of Sydney contributed $AUD1 million to the “No” campaign.