Road-blocks to true marriage equality.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive result of the non-binding, non-compulsory postal survey on whether the Marriage Act should be amended to include same-sex couples, Australia still has not achieved marriage equality.

Numerous attempts to include legal avenues for discrimination were rejected by the Senate this week during the historic passing of the Same-sex Marriage Bill with 43 members in favour and 12 against.

Sadly the fight for equality is never ending, and as the Bill returns to the lower house to be further debated, our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will back a range of ‘religious-­protection’ amendments to the same-sex-marriage bill.

The great campaigners of Just Equal have created a draft letter and submission page for all of us to let our voices be heard by our elected representatives.

It’s vital we let our voices be heard, that true equality demands equal rights and treatment, and that amendments that diminish the rights of some be seen for what they are.

Dear Members of Parliament,

As I’m confident you are more than aware, there are already sufficient exemptions in the Marriage Act for Ministers of Religion to pick and choose who they provide services for.

You must be aware that Catholic/ Anglican/ Protestant/ Lutheran/ Methodist/ Uniting/ Baptist/ Coptic/ Presbyterian priests are under no legal obligation to conduct ceremonies for members of other faiths, or for those that don’t share their beliefs, or join in their rituals. Obviously this applies to all recognised faiths in Australia.

I urge you not to support amendments to marriage equality legislation that will allow further discrimination against same-sex or other couples.

Further exemptions will only undermine our cherished anti-discrimination law, perpetuate a second-class status for LGBTIQ Australians and erode the clear boundary between civil and religious marriage.

The effects of this on the LGBTIQ community, and the potential for damage to both Australia’s self image and international reputation are so shocking; it’s astounding to me this is even being considered.

When I voted Yes for marriage equality I voted for all married couples to be treated the same under the law.

Yours faithfully,
Jayson Cooke

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