As I have demonstrated so often now, the freedoms of the majority are greatly put at risk as we pander to minority group activism. This is specially the case once homosexual marriage is legalised. Indeed, everyone is put at risk once we start heading down this path.
But the activists will insist that homosexual marriage will not impact anyone else, and religious folks need have no fear. Yeah right. My 2014 book Strained Relations offered 165 examples of mainly religious folks being targeted by the heavy hand of the law once homosexual marriage was passed. People lost their jobs, were fined, and even jailed.
But it might be objected that most of those cases come from overseas, so critics might ask, what do they have to do with Australia? This misses the point of course. In most of the cases above, they have happened after homosexual marriage has been legalised. As I keep insisting, everything changes when we legalise homosexual marriage.
We do not have as many cases here for the simple reason that we don’t have homosexual marriage here – yet. But we do have some cases already where religious bodies and individuals have been targeted and/or discriminated against, and it should be clear by now that if Australia goes ahead with homosexual marriage, there will be plenty more such cases – despite whatever “exemptions” may be on offer. Here are just some of these Australian cases:
“Church camp found guilty of discrimination”
October 10, 2010
“A youth camp owned by the Christian Brethren church has been ordered to pay $5000 compensation for discriminating against a suicide prevention group for young gays.”
“Queensland physician taken to Anti-Discrimination tribunal for writing a pro-marriage article”
October 15, 2011
“I did not think that we lived in an Australia where a disagreement of opinion can result in hauling someone before an anti-discrimination board. This is a country where we agree to disagree. This is a country where a two-sided debate can exist. This is a country where people are not intimidated from sharing their point of view. Or is it? First Andrew Bolt, now David van Gend.” (Senator Ron Boswell)
“Victorian psychiatrist questioned over his stance on gay marriage”
May 13, 2012
“A psychiatrist lobbying against same-sex marriage must explain why he should retain his role on the board of the state’s equal opportunity agency, critics say. Professor Kuruvilla George, who is Victoria’s deputy chief psychiatrist, has signed a submission to a senate inquiry calling for a ban on same-sex marriage.”
“Doctor quits equal rights board after same-sex row”
May 15, 2012
“A member of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission board has resigned after stirring controversy by signing a petition opposing gay marriage. Professor Kuruvilla George is also the state’s deputy chief psychiatrist and one of a group of 150 doctors who wrote to a Senate inquiry on marriage equality. The doctors’ submission argued children with a mother and father were healthier than children with same-sex parents.”
“Newcastle blogger fined for vilifying homosexuals”
November 28, 2012
“A Newcastle blogger and taxi driver has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in damages for vilifying homosexuals…. Sunol has been ordered to pay Mr Burns $11,000 compensation. He has also been ordered to issue a written apology.”
“School chaplain sacked over Facebook post calling homosexuality ‘not normal'”
August 8, 2014
“Following a meeting with the Kingborough Council general manager this morning, Mr Williams was also stood down from his role as a youth outreach worker there.” The interesting thing here is he simply quoted a lesbian activist on his own Facebook page, in which she said homosexuality is not normal.
“Anglican church angry over Department of Education banning of ‘one-partner’ material”
May 8, 2015
“Anglican church leaders [NSW] have slammed an “unprecedented” interference by the Department of Education after it banned three books used by the church’s scripture teachers on the basis they promoted only monogamous heterosexual relationships.”
“Kids bullied for traditional values: MP”
June 15, 2015
“Schoolchildren who don’t support gay marriage, homosexuality or gender swapping are being bullied in classrooms and need the protection of the Equal Opportunity Commission, State Government MP Peter Abetz says.”
“Anti-gay pamphlet referred to South Australia police”
June 20, 2015
“A gay hate pamphlet criticising an Adelaide council for flying the rainbow flag in a show of support for gays and lesbians has been referred to police. The pamphlet has been dropped in letterboxes at some homes and distributed at a shopping centre.”
“Tasmanian woman in same sex relationship lodges anti-discrimination complaint against Catholic Church booklet template”
September 28, 2015
“A Tasmanian woman is taking the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart to the Anti-Discrimination Commission over a booklet about same sex marriage.”
If all this is happening now in Australia, how much more of this will we see when homosexual marriage becomes legalised? We simply have to look overseas to find the answer to that question. We see there how useless all these safeguards and “exemptions” have been.
Of course many of these new laws pay lip service to things like exceptions and exemptions, but we should understand that the majority of activists who have pushed for these laws have made it clear that they want no exemptions whatsoever. Quite often however allowances will be made at first simply to get a bill voted through.
Those who think that special rights for homosexuals – including the right to marriage – can be granted with everything remaining the same are just kidding themselves. Everything changes. An important article by Princeton University’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Robert George highlights the folly of thinking compromise can be achieved here. He is worth quoting at length:
The fundamental error made by some supporters of conjugal marriage was and is, I believe, to imagine that a grand bargain could be struck with their opponents: “We will accept the legal redefinition of marriage; you will respect our right to act on our consciences without penalty, discrimination, or civil disabilities of any type. Same-sex partners will get marriage licenses, but no one will be forced for any reason to recognize those marriages or suffer discrimination or disabilities for declining to recognize them.” There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted.
Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, “full equality” requires that no quarter be given to the “bigots” who want to engage in “discrimination” (people with a “separate but equal” mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs. “Dignitarian” harm must be opposed as resolutely as more palpable forms of harm….
The lesson, it seems to me, for those of us who believe that the conjugal conception of marriage is true and good, and who wish to protect the rights of our faithful and of our institutions to honor that belief in carrying out their vocations and missions, is that there is no alternative to winning the battle in the public square over the legal definition of marriage. The “grand bargain” is an illusion we should dismiss from our minds.
All over the West these sorts of laws are being used, and they are all rather sneaky. They will speak about “exemptions” for religious bodies, but then define what that means so narrowly that basically no one is safe. Thus a Sunday school class may fall afoul of the law. A Bible study held in a home, conducted by the pastor, might not be safe. And plenty of other religious bodies (schools, bookstores, etc) will not be safe. So what we have here is a war on religion.
For these and other reasons we should not be heading down the path of having the State determine what religious bodies are allowed to do in terms of hiring personnel, and so on. But more importantly, these debates about “exemptions” and the like cannot take place without the larger debate about how the legalisation of homosexual marriage impacts everyone, resulting in a major assault on our freedoms, especially our religious freedoms.