Australia’s marriage equality bill specifies that ministers of religion would be able to refuse same-sex weddings because otherwise it risks creating a right to refuse weddings based on disability or race.
The Australian Attorney General’s department warned a Senate inquiry into the government’s same-sex marriage bill that removing a provision allowing ministers to refuse gay weddings could create a host of unintended consequences.
The bill contains a section that allows ministers of religion to refuse to solemnise a marriage that is not a union between a man and a woman.
LGBTI campaigner Rodney Croome said the application of other discrimination laws showed why service providers should not be able to refuse gay weddings because of a religious objection to same-sex relationships.
“If it’s true that religious marriage celebrants are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race or disability, then it would be a clear double standard for the government to allow civil celebrants and faith-based businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” he said.