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Rival bill allows Australian wedding providers to refuse gay couples

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Senator Dean Smith with his private members bill relating to the definition of marriage

The survey has been voluntary, unlike Australia's compulsory elections.

So, what can we expect to happen when the results are revealed?

Labor Senator Penny Wong said she hoped the Prime Minister would stand up against the suggested laws.

Nevertheless, discussions are well under underway as to how same-sex marriage might be legislated.

And versions of this marriage equaity bill include so-called religious freedom exemptions that attack LGBT rights, reports Al Jazeera.

Under Senator Paterson's plan, it would also allow any person or business to refuse to co-operate with the staging of same-sex weddings, protecting them from civil litigation under discrimination laws.

Attorney General George Brandis, a marriage equality advocate, rejected exempting gay marriage from anti-discrimination laws.

Barring any unforeseen mishap, the survey results will be published on by the ABS on 15 November 2017.

However, this vote is nonbinding, which means it is up to the country's Parliament to pass legislation.

The bill would also have a no-detriment clause that would forbid the government and its agencies from withdrawing funding from an organisation that was opposed to marriage equality, professional organisations would not be able to refuse to register a practitioner who opposed same-sex marriage and public servants would not be allowed to be fired for sticking to their beliefs. Cormann said thought the Smith bill was "a good starting position" but thought it would need improvement to "strengthen religious protections".

Ultimately it was up to parliament to decide which bill was the "vehicle to facilitate" the parliamentary debate.

A cross-party group of senators will immediately back senator Dean Smith's bill, which will be introduced to the senate on Wednesday afternoon if a "yes" vote is announced in the same-sex marriage postal survey. "A yes vote can not and should not and must not become a moment where others try to unravel existing anti-discrimination law".

"But also, we should respect another human right and that is freedom of religious belief", he said.

"What you have is a young fogie being led astray by some old fogies".

"This is just another attempt to delay passing marriage equality".

"That would be profoundly disrespectful and a rebuke to the people of Australia".

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