The bid to let bakers and florists discriminate against same-sex couples has died
Bakers, florists and other business owners will not be exempt from discrimination laws in Australia.
This means that companies which supply wedding services will not be protected if they refuse to offer services to same-sex couples.
The amendment was first introduced by Liberal Democrat David Leyohnjelm, to address concerns that conservative business owners who express objections to providing for same-sex weddings could be breaking the law.
The Senate is currently debating Liberal Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill and will assess a range of amendments this week.
As the postal vote was purely advisory, legislation is up to parliament, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is conducting a ‘religious freedom’ review in a bid to forge consensus.
Conversations surrounding same-sex marriage have generated unrest within the Bakers Association of Australia.
The group’s executive officer, Tony Smith, distanced the organisation from the debate, saying: “What baker in their right mind would not bake someone a cake?”
And Liberal senators James Paterson and David Fawcett announced today that they will not continue their calls for business safeguards.
Though the discriminatory law change will no longer be pushed, there are five further amendments which will be debated.
These include having two distinct definitions of marriage.
Paterson and Fawcett have proposed that will be defined marriage as both being between a man and a woman, as well as a “union of two people to the exclusions of all others” to cover same-sex marriage.
The two senators have argued that by doing so, both definitions of marriage will be legitimated, meaning that faith-based organisations will not lose charitable status if they believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
Parents would also be given the right to withdraw children from certain classes if they believed that what was being taught was in conflict with their moral or religious beliefs.
This could mean children missing out on an LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education.
The push for government support to safeguard business came as ministers and Liberal MPs in August played down a warning by Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher.
Fisher insisted same-sex marriage being legalised would have “consequences”, adding: “In other parts of the world that have legalised same-sex marriage, those who believe in traditional marriage have been harassed or coerced into complying with the new view of marriage.
“It would be extremely naive to think that won’t happen here.”
Bakeries are often the centre of discrimination debates, with the US Supreme Court set to hear a baker who refused to serve a gay couple in December.