Same-sex marriage legislation passes: all amendments fail during historic day

JUBILANT: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, moves to embrace Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman after the same-sex marriage bill passed in parliament. Picture: NICK MOIR
JUBILANT: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, right, moves to embrace Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman after the same-sex marriage bill passed in parliament. Picture: NICK MOIR

A RAFT of proposed amendments to the same-sex marriage bill were defeated in parliament on Thursday.

The bill passed just before 6pm, after a day where Members of Parliament attempted unsuccessfully to change the proposed legislation.

These included former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Greens, and Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, who addressed the House of Representatives about 4pm.

Mr Broad’s amendments were broken into two groups.

He said the first one was ‘The Castle’ amendment, and referenced the popular 1997 Australian movie.

He said the amendment was based on the principle that what people did in their own homes was their own business.

“This of course broadens this principle across to a religious organisation – what they do in their own facilities is their own business,” he said.

“In Castle language, their beliefs are their vibe.

“The values we hold dear as Australians are you should be able to hold your values, and you should be able to determine what happens in your own asset, which broadens across to churches, campsites, religious organisations that have been established with their money to do what they want, and they have the right to hold that value.

“That is not offensive I think and is a freedom Australians should uphold.

"Do not think you achieve freedom by giving rights to others and taking away rights to someone else.

"This legislation should be about uniting Australians to say they can do what they want in their own home and they can marry who they want, but don't take away other people's freedoms at the same time."

The first batch of amendments were defeated 96 to 52.

Mr Broad’s second set – also defeated – centered around charities and religious institutions, with proposals to change the Charities Act, Income Tax Assessment Act and Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act.

“All we ask is that faith-based organisations have the right to decide who is in the management and employment of those faith-based organisations – the right to reflect those views,” he said.

“On tax law: the faith-based charities should be exempt under anti-discrimination law, and it shouldn't impact their tax endorsements. 

“This amendment simply seeks to broaden the act that allows faith-based schools and faith-based churches to determine that the people who are in their employment are consistent with their beliefs.”

Mr Broad said none of the amendments he proposed or supported would have put restrictions on the bill to change the Marriage Act.

“The amendments had been worked on for months, and were very detailed in their legal analysis,” he said.

“They by no means interfered with the result of the plebiscite, to change the Marriage Act, but they did protect a lot of freedoms.

“In time I think there will be many who will look back at that debate and say the amendments should have been adopted.”

Mr Broad and Member for Wannon Dan Tehan both voted for the bill to pass when the final vote was taken, as they had previously indicated they would.

Mr Tehan previously told parliament that he would honour his past commitments to vote in line with the postal survey but urged MPs to vote for amendments to protect religious freedom.

“Individuals hold a wide range of views for various reasons,” he said. 

“As parliamentarians, it is now our responsibility to enact legislation that legalises marriage for same-sex couples but also acknowledges the concerns of the nearly five million people who voted no.”