Rodney Croome AM
Spokesperson for just.equal
0409 010 668

re: research showing LGBTI community opposition to discrimination exemptions in marriage legislation

Dear federal member,

Australia's LGBTI community is deeply concerned by unnecessary exemptions allowing discrimination in the name of religious and conscientious belief in any legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. The research demonstrating this concern is explained below.

On the basis of this research we urge you 

1. to support amendments to the exemptions in the Smith bill that will help to remove the possibility of discrimination against LGBTI people, and 
2. not to support any further exemptions to that bill that will allow such discrimination

What the research says:

A recent study of 3,300 LGBTI Australians across all demographics found around 70% opposition to exemptions similar to those in the Smith bill.

This included the right for a civil celebrant to discriminate if they nominate themselves as "religious" (63% opposition) and the right of a commercial service linked to a faith organisation to discriminate (87%). Just 18%, and 6%, of respondents respectively supported such discrimination.
71% believed that exemptions that allow broad discrimination will disproportionately be used to discriminate against LGBTI people. A majority said they were willing to wait for better legislation.

An even larger study of over 6,300 LGBTI Australians earlier this year found over 90% opposition to more radical exemptions including for all civil celebrants, all commercial businesses and all faith-linked welfare agencies and schools. A strong majority of respondents said they are willing to wait.

Both studies were auspiced by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and just.equal, and designed by social researcher, Dr Sharon Dane.

Summaries of both studies are attached to this email.
All that is required is a simple amendment:
In our view, amending the Marriage Act is a simple reform that requires little more than changes to the definition of who can marry and the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages. No further protections for are required for freedom of speech and religion, and parental rights. When a majority of Australians voted Yes, they effectively rejected the central plank of the No campaign which was that same-sex marriages pose a threat to freedom and faith.
Below, I have included links to expert commentary on amendments to the Marriage Act allowing discrimination.
Best wishes,
Rodney Croome

Commentary specific to the Smith bill as it stands

LGBTI human rights expert, Alastair Lawrie:

One of the first married same-sex partners in Australia, Jacquie Tomlins:

Former convener of Australian Marriage Equality, Peter Furness:

Commentary about further proposed amendments
University of Tasmania law lecturers, Brendan Gogarty and Anja Hilkemeijer
Baptist minister, Scott Higgins
Lecturer in Biblical studies at the University of Divinity, Robyn Whitaker