LGBTI advocate and activist. Blogger at <a href="http://www.alastairlawrie.net" rel="nofollow">www.alastairlawrie.net</a>
Equal love should not be treated unequally
Any law implementing marriage equality in Australia must not include new special rights to discriminate against LGBTI couples. On 10 October 2016, Attorney-General George Brandis released the draft Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill, which is the legislation that the Liberal-National Government would introduce following a ‘successful’ plebiscite. While this Bill allows any 2 adults to marry, it also creates new special rights to discriminate against any couple that is not ‘a man and a woman’. This includes: Allowing civil celebrants to reject LGBTI couples simply because of who they are, even though civil celebrants are effectively small businesses providing a service that is authorised under secular law Permitting religious organisations to deny LGBTI couples access to ‘facilities, goods and services’, even where they are provided on a commercial basis, for profit, and Authorising defence force chaplains to refuse to perform the weddings of LGBTI personnel, despite the fact they are public servants, paid with taxpayers’ money and obligated to serve all members of the defence force equally. The Bill also unnecessarily expands the existing rights of ministers of religion to reject any couple, with new provisions that specifically target LGBTI couples only. To find out more about the Bill’s flaws, read this. Marriage equality should be exactly that: equality. It should not be undermined with provisions that treat the weddings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians differently from anyone else. And it must not lead to the situation where we see “No gays (or lesbians, or bisexuals, or transgender people, or intersex people) allowed” signs appear in our country. We call on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal-National Government to replace the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill with legislation that will achieve genuine marriage equality, by treating all couples the same irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.