Conservative MPs are reportedly working on an alternative bill to legalise same-sex marriage if the postal survey returns a yes vote.
They’re worried the legislation being proposed by West Australian Liberal Dean Smith could result in same-sex marriage opponents falling foul of the law if they air their views in public.
Liberal MP Ian Goodenough has told the ABC the alternative SSM bill contains protections for parents and schools with strong religious views.
These would allow schools to teach the traditional view of marriage “without necessarily having to provide the full spectrum of views on marriage.”
He said the bill also includes amendments to protect faith-based charities like the Salvation Army, Anglicare and St Vincent de Paul from losing funding.
Senator Smith’s bill allows same-sex couples to wed, while creating exemptions so that religious organisations can refuse to conduct same-sex marriages.
More than 12.6 million ballots received before the SSM survey officially closed on Tuesday.
The results will be announced next Tuesday.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had hoped to get the legislation through parliament before Christmas if the yes vote wins, but the debate on amendments could delay the vote.
“It’ll take several weeks to get even a dozen amendments through if they’re contentious,” Mr Goodenough told ABC radio.
“So suddenly it’ll be very difficult and challenging to get the required number of detailed amendments through before parliament rises.”
Parliament is scheduled to rise for the year on December 7 after a final fortnight of sittings.