Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crunch Time as Marriage Equality Tests Coalition

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Crunch Time as Marriage Equality Tests Coalition

Article excerpt

RELIGIOUS ministers and civil celebrants will be protected from legal action if they refuse to marry same-sex couples under a proposal by a group of Liberal MPs.

Senator Dean Smith (pictured), and MPs Warren Entsch, Trevor Evans, Tim Wilson and Trent Zimmerman have circulated a private members' bill to colleagues before a special party room meeting in Canberra to discuss the issue today.

The draft legislation will remove existing restrictions to allow 'two people' to marry, regardless of their sex or gender.

The bill will extend religious freedoms to all religious ministers, while service providers -- such as bakers, florists and photographers -- will need to prove a link to a religious body to object.

Mr Zimmerman told Sky News the proposed bill would ensure that religious freedom was protected.

"The bill ensures that no minister of faith is required to conduct a marriage if it is contrary to their religious values," he said.

Mr Zimmerman said a postal plebiscite could lead to a low turnout and might lead people to argue that it was not a true reflection of the public. …

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