We have raised strong concerns about the plebiscite question the Turnbull Government wants to put to the Australian people.
Spokesperson for lobby group Just.Equal, Brian Greig, said the wording of the question opens the door to exclusion and segregation.
The Government has told media sources that the plebiscite question would be: “Do you approve of a law to permit people of the same sex to marry?”
Mr Greig said this wording excluded transgender and intersex people from the reform and opened the door to a form of ‘marriage segregation’ under Commonwealth law.
“Many transgender and intersex people are not legally or medically recognised as being either male or female. This is why the federal government allows the use of the ‘X’ category on passports in relation to gender, rather than the ‘M’ or ‘F’ choice."
“Under the plebiscite question put forward by the government, many Australians, including those in the ‘X’ category, would be denied the right to marry,” Mr Greig said.
Mr Greig said that of more concern was the ‘sneaky wording’ of the question which avoids any mention of equal inclusion under the existing Marriage Act, and which instead makes reference to “permitting a law.”
“This wording is deeply concerning because it suggests that the government wants to create a separate area of marriage law only for same-sex couples, rather than include them in existing laws. That’s not equality, that’s segregation,” Mr Greig said.
Mr Greig called on Attorney General George Brandis to clarify this situation and repudiate any move towards two tiers of legislation through marriage segregation.
“I call on the Attorney to show the Australian people exactly what marriage legislation will be presented to parliament if the plebiscite is successful. The voters have a right to know exactly what the Bill will look like after a plebiscite so they can make an informed decision as they vote."
“Australians do not want to be duped into voting for what they think is marriage equality, if in fact the government is planning segregated marriage along with excluding transgender and intersex people from any future legislation,” Mr Greig said.
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