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Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009

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Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009



EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

Circulated by authority of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

The Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 will remove all discrimination from the Marriage Act 1961 on the basis of sexuality and gender identity, to permit marriage regardless of sex, sexuality and gender identity.

 

The Australian Greens believe that discrimination such as that espoused by the Marriage Act 1961 must be overturned to ensure that freedom of sexuality and gender identity are recognised as fundamental human rights, and that acceptance and celebration of diversity are essential components for genuine social justice and equality to exist.



This Bill will also reverse amendments made to the Marriage Act in 2004, which not only continue to discriminate on the basis of sexuality and gender identity, but also explicitly prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages entered into under the laws of another country.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT:

 

Nil.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES



Clause 1 - Short title



This clause provides for the Act, when enacted, to be cited as the Marriage Equality Amendment Act 2009.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

This clause provides for the commencement of the Act on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Objects



This clause states that the objects of this Bill are to:

 

(a)       remove from the Marriage Act 1961 discrimination against people on the basis of their sex, sexuality or gender identity; and

(b)       recognise that freedom of sexuality and gender identity are fundamental human rights; and; and

(c)        promote acceptance and the celebration of diversity;  

.

 

 

Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Marriage Act

 

Item 1 - Subsection 5(1) (definition of marriage):



Item 1 amends the definition of 'marriage' in the Marriage Act 1961 to “ marriage means the union of two people, regardless of their sex, sexuality or gender identity, voluntarily entered into for life.”

 

Item 2 - Subsection 45(2)



Item 2 deletes the words spoken by the parties during the marriage in the presence of an authorised celebrant and inserts a requirement instead that “where a marriage, is solemnised by or in the presence of an authorised celebrant, not being a minister of religion, it may be solemnised according to any form and ceremony that includes each of the parties, in the presence of the authorised celebrant and the witnesses, saying to each other in words of their own choosing that they take each other to be lawfully wed”.

 

Item 3 - Subsection 46(1)

 

Item 3 amends the words required to be spoken by the authorised celebrant to the parties replacing the gendered term 'man and a woman' with the gender neutral phrase “Marriage, according to law in Australia, is the union of two people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”

 

Item 4 - Subsection 72(2):

 

Item 4 deletes the words spoken by the parties during the marriage in the presence of a chaplain in the Defence Force and inserts a requirement instead that “Unless…the chaplain considers it unnecessary … each of the parties shall, in some part of the ceremony … say to each other in words of their own choosing that they take each other to be lawfully wed.

 

Item 5 - Section 88EA

 

Item 5 repeals section 88EA that prohibits the recognition of marriage between same sex couples solemnised in a foreign country.

 

Item 6 - Part 111 of the Schedule (table item 1)



Item 6 amends the Schedule that deals with 'Persons whose consent is required to the marriage of a minor'. Item 1 of the schedules table, to change the discriminatory term ‘husband and wife' to 'two people'.