Thank you for standing for Marriage and Religious Freedoms
Last week we saw the passage of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017. This Bill changes the definition of Marriage from between a union of a “man and a woman” to a “union of two people.” Significantly, this Bill passed without any amendments which would have protected freedom of speech and religion for parents, individuals and professional clergy.
On Thursday 7th of December, just four Members of Federal Parliament opposed this legislation:
- Mr Bob Katter (independent)
- Mr Russell Broadbent (Liberal)
- Mr Keith Pitt (Nationals)
- Mr David Littleproud (Nationals)
Please sign this petition now to thank these members for their courage to stand for important rights.
According to the official Australian Parliament standing orders, if fewer than five people oppose a bill, it passes "on the voices" and the names of those politicians who voted in favour of the Bill are not officially recorded.
Notably, there were also a number of opponents of the same-sex marriage bill who were absent during the vote. Many of these Members did not want to vote for the legislation but at the same time did not want to vote against the majority view of their electorate. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce stated on Thursday: "I said at the start I believe in the current definition of marriage...but I said I'd never vote against the wishes of the Australian people and I didn't."
Members who chose to be absent for the vote include:
- Barnaby Joyce (Nationals)
- Tony Abbott (Liberals)
- Andrew Hastie (Liberals)
- Michael Sukkar (Liberals)
- Kevin Andrews (Liberals)
- Scott Morrison (Liberals)
- George Christensen (LNP)
- Rick Wilson (Liberals)
- Stuart Robert (Liberals)
- Bert van Manen (Liberals)
Many of these Members above worked hard in the days and hours leading up to the vote to propose amendments to the Bill in an attempt to secure religious freedoms and protections in the legislation. The amendments which were proposed to protect freedoms included the right:
- of parents to ensure the education of their children is in accordance with their religious beliefs;
- of religious institutions to ensure that their facilities are used in accordance with their beliefs;
- of charities to hold a view of marriage as a union between a man and a woman;
- of future Marriage celebrants to act in accordance with their genuinely held religious or conscientious convictions.
During the Postal Survey debate, polling demonstrated that about 60 percent of Australians supported protection for religious freedoms. Both the Government and the Opposition promised that religious freedoms would be protected including freedoms of conscience and practice of religion. Ever since the result of the Postal Survey was announced, it is clear that this was an empty promise.
The push has begun to silence the near 5 million Australians who voted against redefining Marriage. It appears now that there is no tolerance for opposing opinions. This blatant refusal of the government and many politicians to consider amendments to the Bill is scandalous.
The Bill came into effect on December 9 and the first weddings between same-sex couples will be able to take place from January 9, 2018. A number of other changes will now also be made to other acts such as the Sex Discrimination Act, Family Law Act, Migration Act and Australian Defence Force Cover Act, in order to remain consistent with the new definition of Marriage.
Please sign this petition now to thank those brave politicians who stood against the immature bullying and mockery of many of our elected members last week in Parliament. Your signatures will be sent to these members before Christmas thanking them for standing against the crowd and asking them to continue to work together with other colleagues to build important religious freedoms and protections for many concerned Australians.
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Thank you for standing for Marriage and Religious Freedom