How Sue Lines voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should protect the right of celebrants to refuse to marry same-sex couples if doing so would be against their religious or conscientious beliefs

Division Sue Lines Supporters vote Division outcome

29th Nov 2017, 12:22 PM – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Discrimination based on religious beliefs

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Greens Senator Janet Rice (Vic), which means they failed.

These amendments relate to several issues with the bill, particularly in terms of how it relates to anti-discrimination. For example, one of the amendments would "amend this legislation so that civil celebrants, including existing civil celebrants, would not be able to discriminate". Read more in Senator Rice's explanation of the amendments.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No No Not passed by a large majority

29th Nov 2017, 10:27 AM – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Authorised marriage celebrant

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The majority voted against the amendments (1)-(3) and (6)-(9) introduced by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson, which means they failed.

The amendments related to the issue of having separate categories for "civil marriage celebrants" versus "religious marriage celebrants". Senator Hanson argued that:

The difference in definition between religious marriage celebrants and civil marriage celebrants is unnecessary. If a marriage celebrant wants to refuse to solemnise a marriage, they should be entitled to do so without recrimination. If a marriage celebrant wants to refuse to provide their services, they should not be required to give their reasons. One Nation's amendments would remove the distinction between religious marriage celebrants and civil marriage celebrants and revert to the single-definition term 'authorised celebrant', which has stood the test of time in the Marriage Act. There is no justification for requiring someone to give their reasons for refusing to solemnise a marriage, whether those reasons are religious, ethical or conscientious objections, or that the marriage celebrant has had a better offer or is simply having a bad day.

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a modest majority

29th Nov 2017 – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - No obligation to solemnise marriage

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Senator David Leyonhjelm, which means the amendment failed.

Amendment text

(2) Schedule 1 , page 11 (line 20) , after item 47A , insert:

47AA Authorised celebrants (other than State and Territory officers) not bound to solemnise marriages etc.

Subject to subsection 39(4), nothing in this Part:

(a) imposes an obligation on an authorised celebrant to solemnise any marriage

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

28th Nov 2017, 11:02 PM – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Civil celebrants' right to refuse

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The majority voted against an amendment that would have extended the right of "conscientious exemption" to civil celebrants so that they can refuse to solemnise a marriage. It was introduced by Liberal Senator George Brandis (Qld) also on behalf of Liberal Senator Matthew Canavan (Qld).

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

28th Nov 2017, 7:44 PM – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Defence chaplains

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The majority voted against amendments introduced by Liberal Senator David Fawcett, which means they failed.

What did these amendments do?

Senator Fawcett explained that:

During the Senate select committee the issue of chaplains in the Defence Force, who have traditionally conducted marriages for servicemen overseas, came up. Whilst the initial discussion went to the fact that they are employees of the government and therefore should just carry out the law according to the civil definition of marriage, what became clear during evidence presented to the Senate select committee was that they are in fact appointed to that role by their respective denominations and therefore should and in fact do enjoy the same exemptions that apply to a minister of religion. That was accepted by the Senate report and indeed accepted by Senator Smith in his bill.

The workaround that the committee decided on was that the Chief of the Defence Force, if he had a force deployed overseas, should be able to appoint an officer to conduct weddings if there was a member of the Defence Force overseas who was going to get married. The purpose of this amendment is purely to recognise that, just as the Defence Force when it appoints somebody makes sure they have the relevant competence to do the task, the individual officer has the same human right under article 18 to their freedom of religion and belief. Therefore, the practical effect of this amendment would be that, before the CDF made that appointment, they would ask the officer concerned if they were happy to conduct same-sex weddings. If they were, the appointment would go ahead. If they weren't, because they do have that individual right to freedom of religion and belief, the CDF would make the appointment of another officer who was happy to do that.

As the bill currently stands, the CDF can make that appointment without taking regard of the individual's conscientious objection. Bear in mind that, unlike someone who works in a registry office, where this is the purpose they were employed for, in this case the officer of the Defence Force is employed in either the Air Force, the Navy or the Army for the primary purpose of conducting military operations, and this is a secondary duty. So the operational effect of this amendment would be that the Defence chief would need to check that the officer they wanted to appoint was happy to conduct same-sex marriage, and in that case that person would be appointed.

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes Not passed by a modest majority

28th Nov 2017 – Senate Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 - in Committee - Religious and conscientious protection

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The majority voted against the amendments introduced by Liberal Senator David Fawcett that were numbered (1) to (19), (21) to (23), (25), (27) to (38), and (40) to (44) on sheet 8326.

What were these amendments about?

Senator Fawcett explained that:

These amendments go to a couple of issues, one particularly to do with religious and conscientious protection for celebrants that was raised during the Senate select committee. The human rights law is a right that extends to every individual, not just to members of the clergy and not just to religious organisations.

The change that we have proposed extends the definition. It says:

marriage means:

(a) the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life; or

(b) the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

What that means is that we are providing a balance so that 40 per cent of Australians who hold to the traditional view of marriage are not unnecessarily disenfranchised, but in no way does it prevent people who are same-sex-attracted who wish to access marriage being able to do that. It is an amendment that is intended to be a unifying amendment, meaning that we actually provide Australians, whichever way they voted—the 60 per cent and the 40 per cent—with a place in our law, so that they recognise that their views are respected and legal in Australian law.

Why did some Liberals vote Yes and others No?

The Liberal Party was split on this issue, with some voting Yes and others voting No. This split within the party is unusual but, given the nature of the subject matter of the vote, the Liberal Party decided to run this as a free vote, meaning that its members could vote however they chose rather than having to vote along party lines.

What does this bill do?

This bill will allow same-sex couples to marry under Australian law. However, it will also:

enable ministers of religion, religious marriage celebrants, chaplains and bodies established for religious purposes to refuse to solemnise or provide facilities, goods and services for marriages on religious grounds; and make amendments ... to provide that a refusal by a minister of religion, religious marriage celebrant or chaplain to solemnise marriage in prescribed circumstances does not constitute unlawful discrimination.

Read more in the bills digest.

No Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

How "voted very strongly against" is worked out

The MP's votes count towards a weighted average where the most important votes get 50 points, less important votes get 10 points, and less important votes for which the MP was absent get 2 points. In important votes the MP gets awarded the full 50 points for voting the same as the policy, 0 points for voting against the policy, and 25 points for not voting. In less important votes, the MP gets 10 points for voting with the policy, 0 points for voting against, and 1 (out of 2) if absent.

Then, the number gets converted to a simple english language phrase based on the range of values it's within.

No of votes Points Out of
Most important votes (50 points)      
MP voted with policy 0 0 0
MP voted against policy 4 0 200
MP absent 0 0 0
Less important votes (10 points)      
MP voted with policy 1 10 10
MP voted against policy 1 0 10
Less important absentees (2 points)      
MP absent* 0 0 0
Total: 10 220

*Pressure of other work means MPs or Senators are not always available to vote – it does not always indicate they have abstained. Therefore, being absent on a less important vote makes a disproportionatly small difference.

Agreement score = MP's points / total points = 10 / 220 = 4.5%.

And then