Australia: ‘Utterly disgraceful’

IF THE postal survey goes the way pollsters predict, Australians will give a resounding Yes to same-sex marriage on November 15.

But pro-SSM campaigners are increasingly nervous a rearguard action by conservative MPs could mean if they win, gay Australians will lose anyway.

Head of the Equality Campaign, Tiernan Brady, told if some politicians got their way, the price for Yes could be the rights of parents in same-sex families watered down and services denied to gay people. Shops could even bar LGBTI customers, he said.

“The No side have made it very clear that in the event of a Yes victory they will try to unravel existing anti-discrimination legislation,” Mr Brady said. “To single out gay people for discrimination is utterly disgraceful.”

If a same-sex marriage law heavily influenced by conservative MPs gets legs, politicians that voted Yes may find themselves in the bizarre position of being unable to vote for legislation that would legalise same-sex marriage.

Conservative MPs haven’t gone into detail, but their wishlist could include lessening hate speech laws, axing legislation that gives same-sex parents the same rights as straight parents, barring gay couples from accessing IVF and allowing parents to remove kids from any school lesson that even fleetingly mentions gay people.

There is also the prospect of businesses being given the green light to refuse to serve anyone who is gay, not just those organising same-sex weddings.

Many of the proposed changes would involve stripping away Australia’s anti-discrimination legislation which protects people based on innate characteristics — such as sexuality — bar a small number of exceptions, usually for religious organisations. Read more via