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Get govt out of marriage says new MP

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016

New Liberal MP Chris Crewther says government should get right out of the business of legislating on marriage.

Mr Crewther, member for the Victorian seat of Dunkley, said he believed in Australia being a secular liberal democracy, not imposing or restricting the practice of religion.

He said neither perspective in the current debate on same-sex marriage was truly secular, given that both imposed a government sanction on the definition or marriage.

"Ideally governments should get out of the business of defining marriage," he told parliament in his first speech.

"Government's only role should be to legislate contractual relationships, leaving the definition of sanctioning of marriage to marriage solemnising bodies and individuals."

Mr Crewther said this was a small government approach, creating equality under the law while better ensuring freedom of religion.

It would allow people to freely express their own views on marriage and to solemnise marriage in line with these views, he said.

In the same vein, he said laws forcing women to wear the veil should be opposed, as should measures designed to stop women wearing the burkini, so long as that was their choice.

Mr Crewther said current anti-discrimination law limited freedom of speech.

"We are gradually becoming an illiberal society with people increasingly afraid to express their view or to critique other faiths for fear of public ostracism, being silenced through ad hominum attacks or by being caught by such laws. This needs to stop," he said.

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