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Senator Paterson’s Same Sex Marriage Bill: Incompatible with International Human Rights


Hilkemeijer, A, Senator Paterson's Same Sex Marriage Bill: Incompatible with International Human Rights, AUSPUBLAW, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW, Australia, 15 November 2017 (2017) [Magazine Article]

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Two days before the release of the result of the Same Sex Marriage Survey, Liberal Senator James Paterson made public a Bill that would allow anyone who has a strong belief in ‘traditional marriage’ to refuse to provide goods and services in relation to a same sex marriage. This Bill meets the demands of the religious right as expressed in the popular press, academic literature, government inquiries and the courtroom. These demands are alarming in their implications for Australia’s multicultural liberal society.

This post argues that the Paterson Bill has no foundation in international human rights law, and indeed is at variance with legislation and court decisions in countries with legislative or constitutional human right protections. The post is divided into three sections. First, I deal with the parts of the Bill regarding refusal of the provision of goods and services in light of human rights treaties and the decisions of international and national courts. This analysis demonstrates that the Bill is premised on an unjustifiably broad notion of religious freedom.[1] Secondly, I demonstrate that the conscientious objection analysis relied on by Senator Paterson is a flawed analogy. Finally, the Bill contains some unrelated protections – including for parents to withdraw children from class if the subject is objectionable to them – which have no basis in the human rights jurisprudence of other Western democracies.

Item Details

Item Type:Magazine Article
Keywords:human rights, discrimination, religious freedom
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Constitutional law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Law reform
UTAS Author:Hilkemeijer, A (Ms Anja Hilkemeijer)
ID Code:122670
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2017-11-22
Last Modified:2017-11-22

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