Coast MPs: Why we backed changes to marriage equality bill

WANTED PROTECTIONS: Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace (right) and Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien spoke after the historic passing of same sex marriage bill.
WANTED PROTECTIONS: Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace (right) and Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien spoke after the historic passing of same sex marriage bill. Warren Lynam

THE COAST'S two Federal MPs have revealed what protections they were seeking during the historic same sex marriage vote.

Andrew Wallace (Fisher) and Ted O'Brien (Fairfax) both voted for a number of amendments proposed to the marriage equality bill which eventually passed without change.

The bill was passed with the only four MPs voting against it being Bob Katter (Queensland IND), Keith Pitt (Queensland Liberal), David Littleproud (Queensland Nationals) and Russell Broadbent (Victorian Liberal).

Mr Wallace said he'd been voting in favour of some of the proposed amendments because he believed religious protections in the bill were insufficient.

He said he'd spoken previously of his willingness to "die in the trenches" fighting for the right of veto for churches.

He said consultation with community and church leaders in his electorate had helped guide him on what the appropriate levels of religious protections that should've been provided.

Mr Wallace said he voted on the selected amendments because he believed there was insufficient protections for religious leaders to stand up and preach that marriage is between a man and a woman, or for teachers in religious schools to say the same thing.

He believed there should be no discrimination at law against anyone based on sexual preference and he continued to support the right of all churches and faiths to choose who they marry in "accordance with their beliefs".

Mr O'Brien said the past few days in Parliament had been all about due diligence and he had voted on some amendments with the intention of improving the Bill to deliver on same sex marriage without "sacrificing important freedoms".

"The main point I've been making during the debate is that religious beliefs are no more important than conscientious beliefs, and they should at least be treated equally," he said.

"In other words, protections enjoyed by religious celebrants shouldn't be denied to non-religious celebrants. These are the finer details that will impact day-to-day reality once this law is enacted and thus it's important to debate."

Both of the Coast MPs honoured their commitments to respect the outcome of the postal survey, and voted in favour of the Bill when the final vote was called.

In Fairfax 58,510 (64.3%) of respondents voted yes for marriage equality, while 52,023 (62.8%) voted yes in Fisher.

Topics:  community equality federal politics government legislation marriage equality politics same sex marriage sunshine coast

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