On 8 February 2012, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young presented a private member’s bill, the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 (the Hanson-Young Bill) to the Senate, which was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for inquiry.
Five days later, two private members’ bills were introduced to the House of Representatives. On 13 February 2012, Adam Bandt MP presented the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012 (the Bandt Bill). On the same day, Stephen Jones MP introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 (the Jones Bill) to the House of Representatives. These two bills were referred to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for inquiry and report.
The main objective of each of the Bills is to amend the definition of marriage contained in s 4, and remove s 88EA of the Marriage Act (which prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages conducted overseas).
In this submission, PIAC strongly supports the Hanson-Young Bill, and recommends that Parliament pass the Bill, in its entirety. Through its clients’ experience, PIAC is familiar with the stigma, vilification and unlawful discrimination that same-sex couples, and families led by same-sex couples experience every day. This experience demonstrates that same-sex couples do not fully enjoy protection and fulfilment of their human rights to equality before the law.