Media Release
Tuesday December 5th 2017
“These amendments are historic, even if they don’t get up, because the Greens are taking a stand against religious privilege at a time when too many others are bowing to it.” – Peter Furness, former Australian Marriage Equality convener
Equality advocates have praised the Greens for again attempting to improve Dean Smith's marriage equality bill by reducing the possibility of discrimination against LGBTI people.
This afternoon, Greens MP, Adam Bandt, said he will re-introduce amendments to the bill to limit exemptions that allow discrimination in wedding services against marrying couples, including same-sex couples, on the grounds of religion.  
The amendments also rename the bill so that it explicitly says it enacts marriage equality.
Just.equal spokesperson, Rodney Croome, praised the Greens for listening to the concerns of the LGBTI community.
"LGBTI community surveys auspiced by just.equal and PFLAG have shown there is deep concern in the LGBTI community about exemptions that allow unnecessary discrimination and we thank the Greens for listening to those concerns."
"By voting Yes, a majority of Australians not only affirmed the right of same-sex couples to marry, they also repudiated the No campaign's proposition that freedom and faith need additional protections from same-sex marriages over and above existing religious protections in the Marriage Act."
"We thank the Greens for constructively engaging with just.equal, PFLAG and Rainbow Families over a period of several months regarding the concerns of the LGBTI community and how those concerns should be reflected in amendments to the Smith bill."  
"We ask other parties to support the amendments so that Australia, like every other country with marriage equality, can achieve this reform without unnecessary caveats or carve outs."
Executive director of Rainbow Families Victoria, Felicity Marlowe, said,
"I support the amendments proposed by the Greens as they reflect the feedback I have been receiving from our rainbow families since the postal survey announcement."
"Rainbow families do not want to see marriage equality compromised by unnecessary and complicated additions to the simple proposition that 61.6% of postal survey respondents voted for, LGBTI people should be able to marry the person they love."
Former Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Peter Furness, said,
“Civil marriage celebrants were established in 1973 for the sole purpose of providing couples who sought a non-religious wedding ceremony outside the setting of a state registry office the opportunity to have one.”

“To establish a new category of religious marriage celebrant is a distortion of the very purpose of marriage celebrants as representatives of the state. It creates a dangerous precedent for other roles performed by the state which should properly be separate from church or religious influence.”
“These amendments are historic, even if they don’t get up, because the Greens are taking a stand against religious privilege at a time when too many others are bowing to it.”
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays national spokesperson, Shelley Argent, said,
“I’m pleased that the Greens are listening to the LGBTI community and standing firm against discrimination in the name of religion.”
“Our sons and daughters have waited a long time to be seen as equal to their siblings, and the Greens are doing their best to ensure there is no lingering legal discrimination.”
The Marriage Act already protects religious freedom by ensuring no minister of religion or faith community is forced to solemnise marriages in violation of their doctrines.
For a copy of this statement on the web, click here
For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668, Felicity Marlowe on 0411 593 607, Peter Furness on 0428 848 723 or Shelley Argent on 0409 363 335.