'Yes' hopes for Australia gay marriage as vote exposes divisions

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WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith will make history this week, confirming he will introduce his same-sex marriage Bill on Thursday - a day after the result of the postal survey is announced.

Eight in 10 Australians have had their say in the government survey.

In response to concerns over the controversial Safe Schools program, the bill would also allow parents to pull their children out of classes where they "genuinely believe" their kids are being taught a view of marriage inconsistent with their own.

Ms McLeod said the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, endorsed by five government members including Senator Dean Smith, already extended existing protections for freedom of religious expression in the context of marriage and was a reasonable compromise.

'The right to freedom of religion also appears in global law.


No matter what the result is, this day is a wonderful time for all Australians who have worked hard to achieve marriage equality to come together in support.

The Paterson bill is expected to enjoy substantial support from that quarter as it implements demands from Tony Abbott, Matt Canavan, Michael Sukkar, Zed Seselja, Andrew Hastie, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews.

PM Turnbull has since expressed that his ministers will continue to back Smith's bill instead, although it will likely be adapted before being presented to parliament.

David Kalisch, the head statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and his deputy, Jonathan Palmer, will hold a media conference at ABS house in Belconnen (a suburb in Canberra), where they will announce whether the majority of people who returned their surveys voted "yes" or 'no'.

Ultimately it was up to parliament to decide which bill was the "vehicle to facilitate" the parliamentary debate.


"Australians have been voting not to entrench discrimination in legislation".

The Paterson bill sets the stage for a party-room showdown with Liberal moderates, who believe discrimination laws should not be watered down to allow differential treatment of same-sex weddings. We know that's the real slippery slope, when you unravel anti-discrimination protections, and I don't think Australian people want that.

On Sunday the Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman warned that religious freedom was a separate issue to same-sex marriage.

"It's a rebuke to the Australian people", Campaign Director, Tiernan Brady, told Fairfax.

"What we've seen during this debate is the conflation of a whole range of issues which frankly have nothing to do with the Marriage Act".


Freedom of speech is also covered in the proposed bill, with the senator arguing that people should be able to say whatever they like about same sex couples as long as it was not harassment or threatening.

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