Tensions rise as Australia prepares for result of marriage equality vote

WA Liberal Senator Dean Smith to introduce same-sex marriage bill this week

Rival same-sex marriage bill to trigger Coalition showdown

"If the answer is yes, then anyone who wants to turn around and say "we should pass a law that discriminates against LGBTI people" is doing the opposite of what the people have just said", he said.

Australia has edged closer to legalising same-sex marriage with a diverse group of cross-party senators backing a Liberal senator's bill to change the law.

If the result is a majority "yes" vote, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously stated that this won't automatically legalise same-sex marriage in Australia.

"We had information come out this week that showed there's been an enormous spike in, particularly, young LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer) people seeking mental health services in the wake of the survey". This Bill will encroach on many of these protections in an extraordinary and perilous way'.

Brady, an Irish citizen, said he saw echoes of the historical discrimination against his own people in the religious freedoms push.

"It was part of the journey in Ireland [during the referendum on marriage equality], the issue of freedom to discriminate against people, but that debate lasted a couple of hours because Irish people remember what those signs look like".

The national director of Liberals and Nationals for Yes, Andrew Bragg, has said a marriage bill should be guided by three principles: "Firstly, existing discrimination in the Marriage Act should be eliminated; secondly, a strong protection for religious freedom should be provided; and thirdly, we should not reintroduce commercial discrimination in Australia".

Senator Reynolds said that while she backed the bill, she reserved her right "to support amendments that seek to further increase religious protections".

No notice has yet been given for the Paterson bill.

Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said his personal instinct was the Smith bill was "probably a good starting position" because it had been subject to a cross-party Senate committee process.

Senator Paterson, who voted yes in the marriage postal survey, says any ensuing law changes shouldn't have negative consequences for opponents of same-sex marriage.

'You could potentially see a situation where a hire vehicle company could leave their customers stranded on the way to a marriage ceremony simply because the driver held a thought or belief against it. "As a non-religious person, I should have no fewer rights to live my life consistent with my beliefs than anyone else".

The conservative government failed twice to get parliament's upper house Senate to approve an election promise previous year to hold a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage.

His sponsorship of the bill is created to counter suggestions by the education minister, Simon Birmingham, that it would be "illogical" for conservative opponents of marriage equality to be the ones to propose a bill.

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