The Australian Human Rights Commission encourages all eligible Australians to participate in the upcoming postal survey on marriage equality.
Today’s High Court decision enables the postal survey to proceed. Australia's Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow, urges people to engage in this process.
The Commission’s view, summarised in its 2012 position paper on marriage equality, is that civil marriage should be available to all couples, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“All people have the right to equal treatment before the law. Australia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) citizens should be able to marry the person they love,” said Commissioner Santow.
“Marriage is an important expression of love and commitment between two people; the right to marry should no longer be contingent on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status,” Commissioner Santow said.
“However, any discussion will also need to balance concerns about religious freedom — and the Commission also supports the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.
“We have advised the Government in submissions to parliamentary inquiries about how the legal definition of civil marriage can be amended, while maintaining existing religious freedom protections.
“Some religious organisations support changing Australia’s marriage law and some do not. Religious organisations should be free to solemnise marriages in accordance with their doctrines, tenets or beliefs. This is how the Sex Discrimination Act has operated in other areas ever since it was passed in 1984,” Commissioner Santow said.
“If a bill to amend the current Marriage Act 1961 is introduced, the Commission looks forward to providing advice, drawing on its longstanding work in this area.”
- Position paper: Marriage equality in a changing world
- Fact sheet: Religious exemptions to unlawful discrimination in the Sex Discrimination Act (pdf)
- Related news: Commission welcomes marriage equality report (16 February 2017)