12 November 2015
Labor nailed its colours to the Greens’ anti-free speech mast today, joining them to block a Senate motion supporting the Catholic church’s right to teach the orthodox Christian view of marriage.
Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said it was chilling to have the alternative party of government oppose in Parliament the church’s right to teach about marriage being between one man and one woman.
“Labor’s action raises serious questions about where the same-sex political debate is taking our nation.
“Labor’s move coupled with Greens politicians Adam Bandt and Robert Simms today calling people who support traditional marriage ‘bigots’, is evidence of a growing intolerance emerging in Australian politics.”
The Senate motion was to support the Catholic church’s right to free speech in the face of an anti-discrimination complaint lodged with authorities in Tasmania.
The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner is investigating the complaint by a transgender Greens’ political candidate against the Catholic church for distributing a booklet that explains its millennia-old view on marriage.
A decision by the Commissioner on whether or not the complaint is sustained is expected any day. If sustained, the church will likely end up in court.
In an extraordinary political maneuver, Labor today joined the Greens in blocking the motion from even being discussed in the Senate.
The motion was co-sponsored by Liberal senator Eric Abetz, independent John Madigan, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, Family First’s Bob Day, and Palmer United party’s Dio Wang.
The motion stated that: “The Senate, while not expressing a view on the contents of the booklet issued by the Australian Catholic Bishops conference entitled Don’t Mess with Marriage, fully supports the rights of members of the Catholic church, including Archbishop Julian Porteous, to distribute it.”
Mr Shelton said today was a sad day for free speech and freedom of religion.
“While Australians may have different views on its definition, I don’t think anyone ever thought we would see the day when political parties would use Parliament and the law to stifle free speech on marriage.
“It is important that people who care about preserving marriage and free speech take an interest in the Turnbull Government’s plan to hold a people’s vote on marriage after the next federal election,” Mr Shelton said.