CANBERRA, Sept 13 - The Senate is debating legislation on Wednesday morning to ensure the postal survey is protected by anti-vilification measures.

"How do you think it feels for children in same-sex families ... to be told politely and courteously 'Actually you're not quite normal, your families aren't as good'?" asked Wong, who is a parent in a same-sex relationship.

The bill makes it an offence to vilify, intimidate or threaten to cause harm to a person on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status or religious conviction during the survey.

Wong lamented that those opposed to gay marriage were using "odd, bizarre and unconnected things" to make their argument.

"They want to talk about our children, they want to talk about - what's the phrase - 'radical gay sex education'."

The bill could not protect the LGBTI community from hurt.

"I would say to the prime minister, this bill does something but it doesn't do enough and you need to stand up for those Australians who don't have a voice," Senator Wong said.

"You need to stand up for our children."

Greens senator Janet Rice, who married her transgender wife Penny 30 years ago when her partner was Peter, said she wanted to be able to hold her partner's hand in public, the way they used to, without fear of abuse.

"We used to hold hands, we used to kiss in public but over the last 13 years we self-censor," she told parliament.

"We generally don't hold hands in public, we get used to the fact that if we are holding hands in the street we need to be ready for the possibility of having a car driving past, wind down its window and hurl abuse at us."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the bill was seeking to add extra protections to existing safeguards in federal, state and territory legislation.

"This will help ensure the integrity in this process and that Australians can have complete confidence that the outcome of the survey reflects the freely given views of the respondents," he said.