'Ring of love', on Wikimedia Commons
The federal Attorney-General's Department is in the early stages of drafting legislation against discrimination on gender or sexuality grounds, and it includes a policy suggestion that is a step towards legalising gay marriage, reports The Australian.
In its secret Red Book to the incoming Gillard government, the department proposed prohibiting marital and relationship status discrimination "in consolidated bill to include same-sex couples".
The Attorney-General's Red Book says that while Commonwealth law prohibits sexuality discrimination in employment, it does not prohibit gender status discrimination.
"This policy commits to including new protections against sexuality or gender status discrimination in the consolidation of commonwealth anti-discrimination laws, which is currently under way," it says.
The report adds that the Red Book says the government will "provide exemptions for religious organisations (including religious schools) where necessary to avoid injury to the fundamental tenets of the religion".
It also says it will provide exemptions from specific other laws to maintain existing policy positions "(such as) same-sex marriage, adoption and IVF".
A spokesman for Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, was quick to clarify that the Gillard government remains opposed to gay marriage, and has not changed its position.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesman, Rodney Croome, said: "Even if the government refuses to admit this is a step towards allowing same-sex marriages, it's clearly a concession to the majority of ALP members and the majority of Australians who support that reform," he said.
The ALP will debate ending its ban on gay marriage at its national conference late next year.
Red Book plan a step towards gay marriage (The Australian)
Roger McLassus on Wikimedia Commons
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