A personal submission to the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom
Dear Expert Panel on Religious Freedom
In the lead-up to the postal vote on same-sex marriage, most political leaders claimed that a change to the Marriage Act would have no impact on religious freedom and freedom of belief in Australia. Whether or not these leaders were sincere, their claim is hard to believe.
I appeal to you, the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom, to ensure that the “no-impact” assurance is realised. I urge you to draft recommendations, etc., to enable the government to frame legislation to protection religious freedom, which necessarily involves freedom of belief and freedom of speech.
Christians (to name but one group) should not be hauled before anti-discrimination tribunals or suffer open opprobrium because they continue to believe what all Australians believed until recently—namely, that marriage is fundamentally a voluntary union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others for life.
Of course, Christians hold this view of marriage because their Holy Scriptures and church traditions teach it.
However, some people hold a similar view of marriage for non-religious reasons, including historical precedent, biological complementarity and child welfare. These people should enjoy the same freedom to hold and to express their view without fear of reprisal. They should not have to prove a religious basis for their belief before they have a right to express that belief.In protecting religious freedom in Australia, please protect the freedom of all citizens to believe something different from the majority and to express that belief without being subject to discrimination.
Yours sincerely …