Religious freedom at risk in same-sex shift

Religious freedom at risk in same-sex shift in Australia, by Paul Kelly.

The myopic failure of parliament to confront the need for broad ­religious-freedom guarantees in association with same-sex marriage laws has produced the inevitable — strong warnings that one right will be won at the erosion of other rights. …

They rest upon three realities: that protection of belief and ­religious freedom in this country is seriously inadequate; the refusal of politicians either to admit or to address such defects; and the abundant evidence at home and abroad that individuals and institutions will be intimidated after the marriage law is changed.

Assertions to the contrary by politicians are worthless. Having been derelict in their duty they now complain about people pointing out the consequences of their dereliction. …

Advocates of same-sex marriage insist the change to marriage law must be the only issue considered at the plebiscite. Anything else is dismissed as a scare or distraction. You can only believe this if you believe the consequences of the change don’t matter or if you don’t care if the price of a new right is the sacrifice of other rights or if, in fact, you actually support the winding back of protections for individual belief and religious freedom.

In his recent article for The Guardian, Frank Brennan said religious freedom in Australia was seen as a “second-order right” while in international law it was a “first order ‘non-derogable’ right”. …

The tactical mistake the Liberal Party made was seeking to make opposition to same-sex marriage the issue (a losing position) when it should have made same-sex marriage only on the condition of religious tolerance guarantees the issue (a winning position). ,,,

The debate about religious freedom has focused entirely around the ceremony, not the society. But the bigger issue concerns protections for individuals, schools, charities, adoption agencies, businesses and institutions. The politicians will deny it but advocates of same-sex marriage felt religious freedom beyond the ceremony was a non-issue they didn’t have to worry about, a telling conclusion.

hat-tip Stephen Neil