Thursday, 30 November 2017

Bigots Kicked Down Under!

The Australian Senate
Photo: Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE
The Senate Just Voted Down All The Conservative Amendments To The Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Following the stunning victory for basic human decency and those campaigning for an inclusive Australia in the same-sex marriage referendum recently, the Australian Senate handed out another kicking to the Christian bigots still looking for victims and demanding the right to persecute people of their choice.

According to this report by Lane Sainty in Buzz News, the Senate voted down by a large majority a series of amendments by the conservative Christian right that would have given Christians an effective veto on same-sex marriages and provided them with a legal right to continue to persecute and victimise homosexuals by denial of goods and services.

The Christian right still believe it contravenes their human rights to deny them the privilege to deny human rights to others on their whim. They wanted this privilege enshrined in Australian Law.

The first amendment debated by the Senate would have effectively allowed civil celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples based on their religious or conscientious beliefs. It was defeated 42-24.

The second would have legislated widespread legal freedom of speech protections for people who hold various beliefs, including those against same-sex marriage but also against same-sex parenting and relationships, as well as an anti-detriment clause and a legislated parental right to pull children out of classes that mention the relevant beliefs. It went down 44-20 after a few hours of debate.

On this amendment, Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie, a strident opponent of same-sex marriage, and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm joined the majority voting it down.

A further amendment relating to defence force chaplains was also defeated, as were amendments in relation to registered charities and religious organisations, with similar margins.

After the five amendments from the conservative bloc were defeated, the Senate also voted down two amendments from Brandis and resources minister Matthew Canavan.

The first, defeated 36-27, would have inserted a line about religious freedom taken from the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights into the bill, and the second, defeated 38-25, would have extended a right to civil celebrants to refuse to solemnise gay weddings.

Further amendments from the Greens, One Nation, and David Leyonhjelm are yet to be debated.

Had these amendments been approved, and despite a massive popular vote in favour of equality legislation on a 75.9% turnout, Australian homosexual would have the same marriage rights as other Australians - subject to a veto by self-appointed Christians using their faith as an excuse. Homosexuals would also have been subjected to the same veto on anything to do with their marriages such as photographers, venues for reception, catering, baking of wedding cakes, venues for honeymoons and probably even for transport to and from these venues. Christians could have continued to use homosexuals to make public displays of their self-righteous piety and pretence of moral superiority.

Fortunately, the Australia's legislators no longer feel they have to award religious people the special privileges and exemptions they demand, nor the right to continue to use minorities of their choice as easy victims. Like the rest of the civilised world, Australia is turning it's back on Medieval superstition and the abuses it permitted and moving forward to a better, inclusive and caring Humanist society based on humanitarian principles.

Whether or not the churches manage to keep up with this social progress or whether they become increasing irrelevant and eventually extinct is up to them, but one thing is certain; this Australian referendum and social impetus now propelling change through the Australian legislature, is not going to stop and wait or allow itself to be held up to appease a diminishing number of self-righteous bigots looking to appease and impress their imaginary friend.

If their superstition prevents them doing certain jobs, then they shouldn't do those jobs. A celebrant employed at public expense who feels unable due to superstition to do his or her job should look for another job and not expect the public to subsidise his or her victimisation of others. They work for a public that has just voted massively to allow full human rights to homosexuals, at least in so far as marriage is concerned.

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  1. Rosa, this was excellent. The people wanting to legally discrimate against other people lost.

  2. My postal address in Aussie and a voter is in the Kingsford-Smith Seat. I sent in my form with a yes. Gone are the days of religious bigots determining anything (hopefully).


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