Let churches refuse weddings, Catholic bishops tell inquiry

Let churches refuse weddings, Catholic bishops tell inquiry, by Primrose Riordan.

Freedom of religion must be enshrined in law and churches should be allowed to stop the use of their property for weddings that go against their religious beliefs, Catholic bishops have argued.

In a submission to Phillip Ruddock’s Religious Freedom Review, ahead of the group’s appearance before the panel next week, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference says Australian laws must be updated.

The Catholics suggest there needs to be a specific law recog­nising religious freedom separate to exemptions and ­exceptions in anti-discrimination laws. …

Catholic schools should also be allowed not to employ staff whose personal behaviour or actions are “contrary to the values of the school”, they say.

“The freedom of Catholic schools to employ staff who embrace Christianity is essential for providing effective religious education and faith formation to their students,” the bishops say.