Most people know my position on marriage equality or same-sex marriage. I have spoken in the Senate on this issue and my speeches are available in Hansard which can be searched on the parliamentary website - www.aph.gov.au or here .
I have been receiving a large number of very similar emails and while there is some variation in the wording there are consistent themes.
I always try very hard to answer emails that I receive however, with the current campaign, there have been a larger than usual number of undeliverable emails - mostly with incorrect email addresses.
In terms of this recent campaign my standard response recognises there are strong views on this issue and I do acknowledge that the issue does raise genuine angst for some people.
I have listened to many arguments - both in support and against - over many years which, upon reflection, is probably in excess of 35 years…. I do not take other positions or points of view lightly nor do I disregard another person's views or opinions.
The current Bill (Australian Marriage Act 1961) has been amended at various times since its introduction in 1961. In 2004 it was amended by the then PM to define marriage as being the union between a man and a woman - before 2004 there was no definition of marriage.
If you are interested in reading through the current legislation - and superseded versions - they are available on the ComLaw website here .
The current proposed changes to the Bill look to define marriage as between two people. You can read through all of the information on the proposed amendments - including the text of the Bill and the explanatory memorandum here .
There are also proposed changes included to ensure that no church, or a minister of religion, or an authorised celebrant, will be obliged to solemnise any marriage or to conduct services.
The amendments to the Marriage Act do not propose to define family and there is no legislation that does that …. the basis for a family is to provide responsible care and as you know we already have many different family structures. It is, and always will be, important that we provide appropriate support to all families with a focus on love and safety.
Our anti-discrimination laws currently in place aim to ensure that no person can be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their sexuality .... this does not mean there has to be agreement. The Australian Human Rights Commission covers all of the aspects of what human rights are and also what is covered in our current anti-discrimination legislation. Their website is very comprehensive so take the time to check it out - Australian Human Rights Commission .
To reiterate - I do support marriage equality."