Senator Dean Smith’s assertion that he has a same-sex marriage bill which protects freedom of religion is news to Australia’s religious community, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
Rebel Liberal MP Trent Zimmermann has also told Sky News same-sex marriage is compatible with religious freedom, something that has proven untrue in the US and UK.
“I’m not aware of any consultation that has occurred with religious groups,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.
“If Senator Smith had been following the debate he would be aware of the intolerance of the same-sex marriage movement towards Coopers’ Brewery, a Christian IBM executive, a Christian Macquarie University academic, an Archbishop and a pastor in Tasmania.
“In the US, an elderly florist and a cake decorator are before the US Supreme Court because they believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
“Under same-sex marriage law you can refuse to ice a Halloween cake or a make one for a buck’s night but the law will force you to violate your views on marriage,” Mr Shelton said.
In February a Senate Inquiry found that if Australia was to remain free and pluralistic under a same-sex marriage law regime, major law reform would be required to preserve freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The chair, Senator David Fawcett said: "I note that if Australia is to remain a plural, tolerant society where different views are valued and legal, legislators must recognise that this change will require careful, simultaneous consideration of a wide range of specialist areas of law as opposed to the common perception that it involves just a few words in one act of parliament."
Mr Shelton said none of this work had been done.
“It is breath-taking for Senator Smith to claim he is protecting freedom of religion when he has not consulted,” he said.
“This is typical of the ‘winners’ circle’ arrogance and hubris the Liberal Party is tolerating.
“If the Liberal Party does not deliver a pathway to preserve marriage, freedom and gender normality, voters will be looking for candidates at the next election who have the resolve to protect them.”