The same-sex marriage debate and the right to religious belief.
by: Paul Kelly
From: The Australian
July 11, 2015 12:00AM
The central issue in any Australian recognition of same-sex marriage remains almost invisible — whether the state’s re-definition of civil marriage will authorise an assault on churches, institutions and individuals who retain their belief in the traditional view of marriage.
It seems to this point that none of the proposals for same-sex marriage or related policy prescriptions are satisfactory laws for passage by the Australian parliament. The real issue is conceptually simple — it is whether same-sex marriage will deny conscience rights to much of the population. The alternative is a new spirit of tolerance guaranteed by law where same-sex marriage sits in parallel with undiminished religious liberty.
The omens are not good. As the years advance there has been virtually no debate about the real issues surrounding same-sex marriage. The campaign for change is strong and tactically brilliant based on the ideological slogan “marriage equality”, one of the most effective slogans in many decades.
The collapse of the moral authority of the churches, especially the Catholic Church, driven above all by the child sexual abuse phenomenon across a range of nations, has seen a depleted and often unchristian response by the churches as they singularly fail to meet the demand of same-sex marriage advocates.
Yet the majority media reaction to this situation — “let’s get on with the change” — is ignorant and irresponsible. The real debate is probably just starting. It poses an unprecedented challenge for our law-makers. There has never been an issue like this, as the US Supreme Court decision made clear.
… We cannot allow a situation where the law is telling people they have to act against their conscience and beliefs. We cannot protect the rights of one group of people by denying the rights of another group.”
If the Australian parliament intends to create a legal regime with this consequence then the law-makers must justify this to the people and explain how such calculated intolerance leads to a better society. The legalisation of same-sex marriage means the laws of the state and the laws of the church will be in conflict over the meaning of the most important institution in society. This conflict between the civil and religious meaning of marriage will probably be untenable and marked by litigation, attempts to use anti-discrimination law and entrenched bitterness. But an effort ought to be made to make it tenable on the basis of mutual tolerance.
…There should be no doubt, however, about the bottom line: the Australian parliament should not legislate the right to same-sex marriage on the altar of denying institutions and individuals the right to their conscience.
… the legalisation of same-sex marriage cannot be used to deploy state power against religious organisation and believers.
This raises the question about the real ideology of the same-sex marriage campaign. Is it merely to allow gays to marry? Or is its ultimate purpose to impose “marriage equality” across the entire society, civil and religious. Ideologies do not normally stop at the halfway mark
…Will religious institutions be penalised by losing government contracts, tax exemptions and access to public facilities? Will religious institutions and schools be penalised if they teach their own beliefs about marriage, thereby contradicting the state’s view of marriage? Or will the state laws via anti-discrimination legislation be mobilised to force the state’s view on to religious institutions?
…The US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges is flawed for two reasons. First, as Chief Justice John Roberts said in dissent: “The court is not a legislator. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
…The applause in this country for the US Supreme Court decision, while understandable, is a disappointing and bad omen. It suggests the public grasp of this issue in Australia is far distant from the debate that is needed.
“I have accepted the inevitability that civil marriage in Australia will be redefined to include same-sex couples,” Brennan told Inquirer. But Brennan warned it was “another thing” to require “all persons, regardless of their religious beliefs, to treat same-sex couples even in the life and activities of the church as if they were married in the eyes of the church”.
He poses a series of questions. Will religious institutions in Australia be able to follow current policy on shared accommodation on a church site? Will religious schools be able to limit employment to teachers who follow church teaching on sexual relations? Will faith- based adoptive agencies be able to prefer placement with a traditional family unit?
...Brennan’s fears are well placed given the debate in Australia in recent times. The politicians are not serious about this issue and neither is the media. It is reduced to a footnote of minor import yet rolled out to justify their same-sex marriage policy.
…The core question remains: what is the real ideological objective of the same-sex marriage campaign?
The full article is at the following link: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/the-same-sex-marriage-debate-and-the-right-to-religious-belief/story-e6frg74x-1227437429587
Every child comes from and needs BOTH a mother and a father. Same-sex "marriage" intentionally keeps either a mother or a father from the child. Government should protect the child through upholding traditional marriage.
There is “a time to be silent, and a time to speak”. (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Now is the time to speak, so please speak up and defend children, truth and freedom.
“What the world needs most is a voice that courageously speaks the truth, not when the world is right, but a voice that speaks the truth when the world is wrong.” Fulton Sheen