Same-Sex bill could override anti-discrimination laws

Same-sex wedding cake

Same-sex wedding cake

Gay couples would be legally turned away from wedding service providers and anti-discrimination laws created to protect LGBT people overturned under an extraordinary rival same-sex marriage bill released on Monday.

Conservative Liberal senator James Paterson on Monday released draft legislation which he argues will preserve the freedoms of all Australians.

If a "yes" vote is successful, the fight for same-sex marriage will turn back to the parliament, where politicians are expected to duke it out over what exemptions should be in a bill to allow same-sex marriage.

Its release comes ahead of the highly-anticipated result in Australia's same-sex marriage survey on Wednesday.

"I've never believed that allowing same-sex couples to marry needs to come at the expense of the freedoms of other Australians".

The bill would also make a number of beliefs protected under the law - including the view that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman, but also the view that sex should only be between a married man and woman, that gender is a binary, and even the view that same-sex relationships are immoral or wrong.

Co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich (pictured), said Senator Patterson's bill did not meet the Australian values of equality and fairness.

The Equality Campaign today released a poll showing strong Australian support for marriage equality and rejection of any rolling back of discrimination laws.

His bill also proposes a new section of the Marriage Act to ensure charities would not be deregistered for their beliefs on marriage.

The bill would also guarantee the right of parents to opt their children out of school classes that conflicted with their values.

Senator Paterson's bill has drawn mixed reaction from his colleagues.

"Our campaign has worked hard to bring Australians together and achieving marriage equality will be a unifying moment for our nation as we include everyone in our marriage laws".

Fellow Liberal Dean Smith also has a private bill ready for parliament.

Senator Paterson, who voted yes in the marriage postal survey, says any ensuing law changes shouldn't have negative consequences for opponents of same-sex marriage. "I don't think their votes should mean we shouldn't have same-sex marriage, but I do think that their freedoms should be protected and I think my bill is a bill that best does that". "The Smith bill is a balanced bill". "Are we really going back to the Australia where people put signs outside their shop that say who they will serve and who they won't?" The prime minister has pledged to move quickly to allow a private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage if the survey returns a Yes result.

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