Category: Same Sex Marriage

Freedom to discriminate

Now that the country has been surveyed on the question of same-sex marriage, it’s time to turn our attention to the details of the same-sex marriage bill that is before parliament. Religious freedom to dissociate from same-sex weddings will be at the forefront of the minds of many Christians and Muslims who do not support same-sex marriage. Before and during the postal survey, assurances were given, by the Prime Minister no less, that ‘religious freedom…will be protected in any bill that comes before this parliament.’

The Constitution of Australia makes provision for limited religious freedoms protections in s116 which states that ‘The Commonwealth shall not make any law… prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.’ However, this has been narrowly interpreted in the past to apply only to laws, the express purpose of which is to prohibit the free exercise of religion, not as an unforeseen consequence of anti-discrimination laws. … Read the rest

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An open letter to Conservatives

Dear Conservatives,

You thought the state was your friend. You introduced the Marriage Act in 1961 and on some level that is understandable. The temptation to do so must have been irresistible. It centralised and standardised a definition of of marriage in Australia that reflected your own views and invalidated others that did not. The power of the State must have seemed wonderful when it was used to protect and expand your firmly held beliefs.

But soon the Marriage Law postal survey results will prove that the state can never be trusted. It is never your friend, it is never there to protect you. It’s power is amoral. It exists to be contested, fought over and used by the victors to validate their view of the world, just as you used it to validate yours. And soon that State will be further co-opted to introduce additional controls over the Read the rest

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Campus censorship at UQ

The evidence is mounting that Australian universities are more concerned with protecting students from offence than upholding the free expression that once made campus life great.

Around a fortnight ago, a rally held by the no-vote campaign group ‘Our Vote, Our Voice’ at the University of Queensland made the national media when it erupted into an ugly standoff when same-sex marriage advocates crashed the event in an attempt to shut it down.

The rally started out as a fairly tame affair. The speaker stood atop a grassy knoll next overlooking a major thoroughfare and explained why he, as a gay man, did not support same sex marriage. His megaphone was loud enough to be audible, without blaring, and he was joined by a little over a dozen supporters.

Within minutes, the scene was stormed by protestors trying desperately to drown out the megaphone with their own chants.

I didn’t find … Read the rest

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No Campaign Dad shows why we need school choice

Last week, Buzzfeed reported that Steve Tourloukis, a Canadian father prominent in advertising by the Coalition for Marriage, “asked for advance notice of the mention of horoscopes, wizardry, and moral relativism so he could shield his kids from “false teachings” at school.” He later became involved in a court case in Canada against that country’s education department. The Coalition for Marriage have been highlighting this case, linking marriage equality with the controversial Safe Schools program; implying that marriage equality is a slippery slope that will lead to a reduction in religious freedom. Tourloukis’ laundry list of objections has been used by Buzzfeed to dismiss his concerns; instead what it demonstrates is how public education inevitably results in a fight to control education and why school choice is necessary.

Buzzfeed rightfully points out that is unreasonable to expect the school system to cater to every parent’s demands around what Read the rest

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The anti-PC case for same-sex marriage

The phenomenon of Political Correctness (these days branded as “Intersectional Social Justice”), once thought to have been vanquished back during the early 90’s, has undergone a resurgence in recent years; many commentators place the blame on social media, stronger leftist dominance of education and the academy and mainstream press, and pedagogical practices which encourage children to treat hurtful words as equivalent to physical violence. Political Correctness represents an imminent threat to freedom of speech, not merely in its legal form (where such protections exist) but in its civil manifestation as a culture of open discussion and debate where orthodoxies are questioned. A free marketplace of ideas does not operate efficiently when monopolized, after all.

But critics of Political Correctness need to keep in mind a simple truth; the broken clock is right twice a day. Sometimes, acolytes of PC (often called Social Justice Warriors or “SJWs”) support things which are Read the rest

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Same-sex marriage lobby has a poor track record when it comes to personal freedom

A churchgoing driver getting harassed on his way to a meeting, a young woman losing her job over her stance on the survey, a football club being pilloried by the media for refusing to endorse same-sex marriage and legislation that remains uncertain. Although there are some, including Attorney-General George Brandis, who say that the introduction of same-sex marriage would not weaken personal freedom, there is great doubt in light of recent events.

I’m not a legal scholar so I’m not going to presuppose whether religious freedoms could be weakened or protected by a bill to introduce same-sex marriage or look at overseas precedent. Nor am I a polemicist so I won’t make the case for or against same-sex marriage. I am however a keen observer of politics and instead will look at the political climate around same-sex marriage which has, thus far, been anything but liberal, leading me to be … Read the rest

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No winners with same-sex hate bill

This week has seen the further eroding of free speech in Australia with the passing of the Marriage Law Survey (Additional Safeguards) Bill 2017. The Bill seeks to provide a “further safeguard against vilification, intimidation and threats to cause harm” based on “the religious conviction, sexual orientation or gender identity or intersex status of a particular person or group”. The new legislation is designed to apply to both sides of the debate and will be in effect only until mid November after the survey results have been announced. Possible fines of up to $12,600 apply for any breaches.

At first glance this bill seems fair. It targets campaigners on both sides equally. Vilification of LGBT people is off limits, but so is vilification of people based on their religious beliefs. All campaigning material including that posted on social media, must be clearly authorised. Even the ABC and SBS must Read the rest

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Australia’s same sex marriage plebiscite

After what feels like an eternity, Australians will finally get the chance to vote yes or no on the contentious issue of same sex marriage. For many Australians the vote is an unnecessary and divisive vote on their individual rights; but for many others it’s an opportunity to participate in the democratic process. But what role do plebiscites play in our democracy? And why don’t our politicians want us to have our say?

The Same Sex Marriage plebiscite came about as result of Australia’s parliament being unable to resolve the issue through a free vote. The Coalition has been unwilling to resolve the issue via a free vote due to the concerns of its more conservative members. This was partially due to the Australian Labor party denying its members a conscience vote on the issue, preventing socially conservative members of that party voting no.

This led to the resignation of Read the rest

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