Second Lib proposes same-sex marriage bill

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Mr Turnbull was responding to Liberal senator James Paterson's bill, which would extend religious protections to allow private businesses to refuse goods and services for gay weddings if they have "conscientious objections".

There won't be a coalition position to decide which of two private bills is the starting point for legalising same-sex marriage, a senior Turnbull government insists.

The Paterson bill, would also include a clause which would allow government employees the right to refuse to register a same-sex marriage, while parents will be able to remove their child from a class if the content taught contradicts their beliefs.

David Kalisch, the head statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and his deputy, Jonathan Palmer, will hold a media conference at ABS house in Belconnen (a suburb in Canberra), where they will announce whether the majority of people who returned their surveys voted "yes" or 'no'.

WA Liberal MP Ian Goodenough said a dozen conservatives were working on an alternative Bill, which he claimed would offer more protections for Australians who do not support same-sex marriage.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said Australians expected the parliament to deal with marriage equality legislation before the end of the year.

Senator Smith's bill draws on the recommendations of a Senate committee and has the backing of the other prominent same-sex marriage supporters on the Coalition backbench: Trent Zimmerman, Trevor Evans, Warren Enstch and Tim Wilson.

In a further rebuke, he said while parliamentarians would be entitled to put forward and debate amendments, he believed ideas such as Senator Paterson's "would have virtually no prospect of getting through the Parliament".

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Almost eight in 10 Australians who received the Australian Bureau of Statistics same-sex marriage survey form have already had their say.

"No one should want to see the messy court cases that have occurred after same-sex marriage was legalised in other countries".

Attorney-General George Brandis is one of those who believe people should not be obliged to marry same-sex couples against the teachings of their church, but said exemptions needed to be regulated to prevent discrimination.

The move has inflamed tensions between the conservatives and moderates in the party and set the stage for a lengthy parliamentary debate over religious freedoms and anti-discrimination laws.

"It would be self-defeating to repeal discrimination and replace it with discrimination", he said.

If the result is Yes, Liberal and Labor MPs will have a free vote in Parliament.

"But I suspect it will need improvement in terms of strengthening religious protections", he told ABC radio.

"What we've seen during this debate is the conflation of a whole range of issues which frankly have nothing to do with the Marriage Act".

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