New Zealand Law Society - Law Council of Australia calls for quick action to legalise same-sex marriage

Law Council of Australia calls for quick action to legalise same-sex marriage

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The Law Council of Australia is calling for legislation that does not discriminate following the "yes" vote in Australia's postal vote on same-sex marriage.

The final count, released on 15 November by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showed 7.8 million (61.6%) people support same-sex marriage, with 4.9 million (38.4%) against. Every state and territory voted yes.

The referendum is non-binding.

The Law Council of Australia says Parliament must move swiftly to introduce legislation that legalises marriage equality while preserving important anti-discrimination protections for LGBTI Australians.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, says the Council has supported marriage equality for over a decade.

“The people of Australia were asked if they wanted same-sex couples to marry and they have delivered a resounding ‘yes’,” Ms McLeod says.

“They have not been asked if Australia’s anti-discrimination protections should be wound back. This important distinction should be front of mind for all Parliamentarians.

“Australians have voted for marriage equality, they have not voted to erode anti-discrimination protections. Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right.

“Discrimination on arbitrary grounds, including sexual orientation is contrary to Australia’s international human rights obligations.”

She restated the Law Council’s opposition to legislation that sought to wind-back protections against discrimination.

“We strongly warn against the passage of the bill released by Senator James Paterson,” Ms McLeod said.

“Senator Paterson’s bill, or any variant of it, would encroach on Australia's long-established anti-discrimination protections in dangerous and unprecedented ways.”

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