Rocky Senator ignores will of the people by voting 'No'
DESPITE Rockhampton saying 'Yes' to marriage equality, its Senator Matt Canavan has said 'No' in the Senate chamber of parliament house today.
After three-and-a-half days of debate, the Senate passed a bill for same-sex marriage almost exactly two weeks after it was revealed the majority of Australians had voted 'yes' in a national survey on the issue.
Liberal senator Dean Smith's bill was passed 43-12 without any substantive amendments to rapturous applause from the public gallery and politicians hugging on the Senate floor.
Senator Canavan was one of 12 senators who voted against the Same Sex Marriage Bill who also included Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Eric Abetz, John Williams, Lucy Gichuhi, Helen Polley, Chris Ketter, Slade Brockman, Cory Bernardi, Barry O'Sullivan, Brian Burston and Fraser Anning.
Pauline Hanson and Peter Georgiou were not in the chamber and Bridget McKenzie, James McGrath and Zed Seselja abstained from voting.
Mr Canavan quoted the text of the amendment he moved with Senator Brandis "which was voted down in the face of a combined block of Labor-Green Senators against religious freedom”.
"Nothing in this Act limits or derogates from the right of any person, in a lawful manner, to manifest his or her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching,” the amendment said.
"Given that even such a moderate protection of freedom has not been included in the same sex marriage bill, I am inclined to vote no to the overall bill,” Mr Canavan said.
"I always said I would respect the vote but I would not vote to compromise fundamental human rights.”
Comedian Pauline Pantsdown was pleased to see the proposed amendment by Senators Brandis and Canavan defeated saying they attempted "to insert *part* of a UN clause favouring so-called 'religious freedom' but *without* the part of the UN clause setting reasonable limits on it”.
In a statement on Facebook, Senator Canavan defended his decision to vote against the same sex marriage bill in Parliament.
"I respect the views of the Australian people and I would have liked to have been able to vote in favour of the amendments following the results of the postal survey,” Mr Canavan said.
"But I have always said I could not do that at the cost of religious freedoms or human rights.
"The current bill doesn't provide appropriate protections for celebrants, charities or parents who object to same sex marriage on religious or moral grounds.
"We have lost a great opportunity to unite all Australians behind a change that almost everyone could support.”
He said he was proud to help represent in our Parliament the five million Australians who voted no.
"I wish supporters of same sex marriage well, and I hope our Parliament can work together in future to give a voice to all Australians,” he said.
The same sex marriage bill, which was promised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to be passed by Christmas, will now proceed to the House of Representatives for further debates and amendments before coming to a vote.