(Blogmensgo, gay blog of January 18, 2017) The Australian Senate is debating the bill on gay marriage introduced by Minister of Justice George Brandis. According to a poll organized by (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and just.equal, more than 90% of the LGBT community reject this bill because it includes a whole number of exceptions and special provisions they consider homophobic. On the other hand, many people opposing same-sex marriage find the text too weak. After a referendum on this subject was rejected in November 2016, the situation in Australia currently seems to be gridlocked.
The Minister of Justice had modified some points in the bill back in October of 2016. For example, he suggests exceptions based on “religious or conscientious motivations,” which would allow certain people to rightfully deny marrying a same-sex couple or rendering services to such couples.
About 98% of the LGBTQI respondents are clearly in favor of same-sex marriage, and denial of any special provisions reaches 81%. Neither age, nor sex or residential status seems to make a significant difference.
The exclusively heterosexual marriage law currently in force in Australia says that religious ministers may deny marrying a couple if they do not want to. About 60% of the LGBT respondents are against such special provisions, and only about 27.8% agree with them.
Some LGBT groups such as Transgender Victoria do not completely reject religious special provisions but believe that such provisions should apply to homo- and heterosexual marriages alike, as just.equal emphasizes.
In any case, 92.6% of all respondents are completely against exceptions for governmental institutions and officers like marriage registrars. If such an exception were necessary in order to implement same-sex marriage soon, about 91.2% would reject this altogether.
Study methodology: The study was initiated jointly by PFLAG and just.equal, and administered online between January 6 and 15, 2017 by SurveyMonkey. Adult Australian LGBTQI citizens filled in a total of 6,342 questionnaires, and the study was managed by social scientist Sharon Dane.