Marriage equality legislation has passed the Parliament, with the final vote taking place yesterday afternoon.
This follows the result of the Marriage Law Postal Survey, in which 61.6% of Australians voted in favour of changing the law to allow same sex couples to marry.
In Greenway, 46.4% of eligible residents voted in the postal survey to change the law and 53.6% voted against.
In the wake of the marriage equality survey results, there were a number of comments made about Greenway and I want to be very clear: we are a diverse community with different views on some issues but that should not stop us from caring for our neighbours, no matter who they are or what they believe.
As I have said previously, I am a supporter of marriage equality on the basis that I respect the fundamental rule of law: every person, regardless of who they are, must be treated equally.
I voted in favour of the marriage equality legislation along with an overwhelming majority of the Parliament.
It is also important to be clear about what this legislation does and does not do. It has always been clear to me - including in seeking feedback from local residents - that in the passing of marriage equality, the protection of religious freedoms must be upheld. This is a deeply important issue for many people in our community and I know many residents have sincerely held concerns about this legislation for this reason.
I have consulted widely with lawyers, residents and religious leaders and I am confident that the legislation that has been enacted does not dilute existing religious protections. The rights of churches, religious schools and charities who support the traditional view of marriage will not be diluted.
Looking ahead, I recognise that whilst many people are rejoicing, some are apprehensive about what this means for the future. It is right to be looking at the issue of religious protections across a range of issues, including in the context of marriage equality. This is particularly significant as our country and our local area become more culturally and religiously diverse, with many people of Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Islamic faiths, just to name a few.
I am confident that the expert panel, to be chaired by Philip Ruddock, will provide important guidance for ensuring fundamental religious protections are enshrined across all our laws. I encourage local residents to participate through public submissions in the coming months.
Everyone should be respected for their vote in the Marriage Law Postal Survey and for their own views on this important issue.