It is good that Australia is finally starting to discuss the consequences of changing the definition of marriage in law.As I said in my blog last week
, we have been told for years that same-sex marriage does not affect other Australians’ rights.
This is of course false and we already have Australian examples of same-sex expressionism clashing with freedom of speech, conscience and religion.
But the overseas experience becomes more serious by the day. If anyone thought same-sex marriage would not take away other peoples’ rights, they should look at what comes next.
In May, Ireland voted in a referendum to redefine marriage.
The Irish Parliament last week stripped long-standing religious freedom protections from Irish anti-discrimination law.
These protections, or exemptions as they are known, have always allowed religious schools to positively discriminate in order to maintain their ethos.
It is no surprise that religions have a moral code which means they will not affirm certain conduct. In a free and diverse society this is recognised, respected and accommodated.
Religious schools, hospitals and charities rely on protections in law so that the freedom to associate around and operate institutions from deeply held beliefs can be accommodated.
It is a live and let live approach which has worked for decades.
But not content with their referendum win, the Irish same-sex political lobby wants more and cannot tolerate anything short of universal genuflection to their worldview.They want it to be a crime for Christian schools or hospitals to live out their beliefs about marriage and to uphold them
Religious freedom in Australia is protected with similar exemptions and exceptions to those abolished in Ireland last week.
In Victoria, the Andrews Government is already working on amendments to its Equal Opportunity laws which will achieve a similar outcome to that of Ireland.
Any Christian school or organisation seeking to uphold the truth about marriage through recruiting staff who share their ethos will be under enormous pressure to compromise over the next few years.
Defeating the idea of changing the definition of marriage at the Turnbull Government’s promised plebiscite on same-sex marriage is our best chance to protect basic freedoms.