The people have spoken, so now give freedom a fair go

The people have spoken, so now give freedom a fair go, by Jennifer Oriel.

While I do not agree with all sections of the Paterson bill, it provides substance and a genuine foundation for reasoned parliamentary debate where the Dean Smith bill rings hollow. …

The Smith bill represents the worst of conservatism and progressivism; it reserves freedom for the clergy while binding freethinkers under a state regime of political correctness. There is no substantive protection for freedom of speech.

There is no protection against the lawfare used internationally to silence dissenters and purge them from public life. There is no protection from the state forcing people’s speech to conform to central tenets of queer ideology. And this is a bill for queer marriage, not same-sex marriage. It will legalise marriage “regardless of sex or gender”.

The Smith bill could usher in a regime of state-funded censorship, lawfare and purging of those who dissent from queer ideology. …

MPs are aware of the threat to individuals and communities of faith posed by hardline activists who will use queer marriage as a weapon to attack religious freedom. They know it will happen in Australia because it is happening in overseas jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been legalised.

The Smith bill could empower such vexatious litigation by placing the onus on individuals and communities of faith to prove that their objection to marriage reform “conforms to the doctrines, tenets or beliefs of the religion”. The Smith bill also may produce an unintended consequence: Christian persecution. For example, a kosher bakery or halal butcher may be protected because their food preparation is ritualised in scripture and certified. However, Christian scripture does not demand similar adherence to religious rituals. Thus, a case such as the baker in Northern Ireland prosecuted for not writing the political slogan “support gay marriage” on a cake could occur in Australia.