Media release: Freedom for all when it comes to marriage

12 September 2018

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm is expected to move amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act as early as today, to ensure the rights of all Australians working in the wedding service industries are protected.

“The Liberal Democrats have always argued that the government has no business telling people who they can or can’t marry, so we strongly supported legalisation of same-sex marriage,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“This is not an issue that can be cherry-picked, however. The government has no business telling people they must facilitate a same-sex marriage, or indeed that they must facilitate a heterosexual marriage.

“Seeking freedom for one group at the price of denying it to another is not liberty, it is hypocrisy.”

Senator Leyonhjelm’s amendments will allow providers of goods, services and facilities in connection with the solemnisation of a marriage to refuse to do so on the grounds of the sexual orientation or relationship status of their would-be clients.

This would provide an exemption from discrimination law not only for marriage celebrants but also for wedding planners, reception venue operators, florists and cake suppliers.

“It will assist those who wish to specialise in same sex marriages only, and it will assist those who wish to service heterosexual marriages only, regardless of the reasons or beliefs upon which those wishes are based,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“As it stands, the law only protects those solemnising marriages within the context of an organised religious institution. We are a secular state. There is no place for laws that grant special exemptions exclusively to religious officials.”

Media: Kelly Burke 0408 734 586

Kelly.burke@aph.gov.au