Christian conservatives seek to use freedom of religion to justify discrimination against the LGBTQI community
Ever since the yes vote, conservative members of parliament have been scrambling to amend the same-sex marriage bill. With the government’s announcement that parliament will sit in December for as long as it takes to enact the bill, the pressure is on for some kind of “deal”. New proposals appear on a daily basis, drawing on elements of Liberal senator James Paterson’s alternative marriage equality bill, which had been hastily prepared but now withdrawn.
On Wednesday the prime minister announced a panel to be headed by former federal government minister, Philip Ruddock, to report on the protection of religious freedom in Australia by March next year. This is despite the fact that a parliamentary committee chaired by conservative senator David Fawcett has been looking at this issue for the past 12 months and is due to report soon. While this looks like an attempt to placate the conservative right, the treasurer, Scott Morrison, immediately made it clear that it is no substitute for “relevant amendments” to the same-sex marriage bill.