Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby takes no comfort from Independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s motion passed in Parliament today which claims to protect religious freedom should the Marriage Act be changed to redefine marriage.

In the very few places overseas where marriage has been redefined, those dissenting against the gay marriage agenda have been subject to significant harassment by activists.

Examples of this were detailed in ACL’s submission to the recent Senate Inquiry (see Appendix 1, p.40) in to the Greens’ Marriage Equality Amendment Bill.

ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said countries, such as The Netherlands which legislated for a redefinition of marriage, are beginning to remove religious protections.

“The Netherlands redefined marriage through its legislature in 2001. Until recently, registrars who did not wish to carry out same-sex marriages for religious reasons were legally able to refuse. However, in November, 2011, the Dutch Parliament voted to amend the law to force civil celebrants to conduct same-sex marriages,” Mr Wallace said.

Furthermore, he said a number of prominent gay activist and human rights activist groups have asked Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to repeal protections for religious freedom as part of a review of Commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation.

“While Mr Wilkie’s sentiment is commendable, it is also naive. The gay activists are not at all tolerant when it comes to advancing their agenda, and their track record shows they are unlikely to tolerate the church’s refusal to marry same-sex couples if marriage is redefined,” he said.

“Their current push to take away the freedom of Christian schools, charities and churches to employ people who share their ethos is testament to the unlikelihood of them allowing churches to refuse same-sex weddings in the long term.

“Even without the law being changed, activists are already hounding dissenters out of public positions, such as Professor Kuruvilla George who was forced to resign last week as a Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Commissioner because he believes in man-woman marriage,” Mr Wallace said.