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Aussie Lawmakers Concerned for Religious Rights After Voters Say 'Yes' to Same-Sex Marriage

11-14-2017
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A majority of Australians say they support gay marriage as the results from a two-month, non-binding postal survey were announced Wednesday.

The country's Bureau of Statistics said 62 percent of registered adults responded favorably to the survey to allow same-sex marriages.

This means the Australian Parliament may consider a bill to legalize same-sex weddings before the end of the year.

The conservative government had promised to allow Parliament to consider a bill on the issue in a final two-week session that ends Dec. 7.

However, some lawmakers vowed to vote down any bill on gay marriage regardless of the results of the survey.

Conservatives are also expected to fight for religious protections in any same-sex legislation that may be proposed. 

"I think it's important to realize and to recognize that the Yes campaign said all along there were no consequences in redefining marriage, this won't affect anyone else's freedoms — so I expect the legislative process to reflect that" Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton told reporters at a No event in Sydney Wednesday.

Shelton said the organization was disappointed in the result of the survey and pointed out the legalization of same-sex marriage was a "two-step process."

"People give a Yes or a No, which is what they've done today and it has always been said by the government, it's up to the Parliament then to legislate an appropriate bill," he said.

Shelton said he wanted to see protections for people's freedoms.

"I don't think anyone who voted in this postal survey wants to see their fellow Australians put up on hate speech charges," he explained. "So I think we need to protect freedom of speech, we need to protect freedom of conscience and also freedom of religion and of course that goes way behind a wedding ceremony."

Shelton also said that freedom of religion was an international human right to express their beliefs in public. 

No-voter and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: "Parliament should respect the result."

"I also thank the 4.7 million Australians who supported marriage between a man and a woman," he added.

"A great many more Australians have concerns about the consequences for our cherished freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience," Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi said.

He later posted a video on YouTube saying while "they may have lost the battle, it's only just begun."

 

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