The Paterson Bill would effectively allow businesses to hang a ‘no gays’ sign in the window and would override state anti-discrimination laws, says Tasmanian marriage equality advocate Rodney Croome.

“This Bill is nothing more than a delaying tactic from opponents of marriage equality who will do anything they can to drag out the debate and ignore the will of the Australian people.

“It is also a sneaky attempt to override the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act, which has paved the way for a more open and inclusive society.

“The Paterson Bill will violate LGBTQI rights and states’ rights.”

Provisions within the legislation drafted by Senator James Paterson would allow businesses and charities to refuse services to gay couples, which is currently illegal under Tasmanian anti-discrimination laws.

The Bill may also override Tasmanian hate speech laws that were recently confirmed in place by the Legislative Council.

Mr Croome said the Bill exposed prejudice as the motivation of those campaigning against marriage equality.

“We would never support legislation that allowed a Jewish business to refuse service to a Christian, for example, or for a business to discriminate against unmarried parents on the basis of their religious beliefs.

“This Bill would effectively allow a business to hang a ‘no gays’ sign in the window.

“We cannot and will not accept a Bill which replaces an old form of discrimination with new forms.”

Mr Croome said that if the survey returns a “yes” vote on Wednesday, Parliament must act decisively to enact marriage equality.

“If the country votes ‘yes’, than these politicians need to get out of the way and allow marriage equality to be enacted.”