Submission Group 16

Allowing same-sex couples to marry should not come at the expense of the freedoms of other Australians. The Australian parliament is capable of ensuring there are no negative consequences for anyone else from allowing people of whatever gender or none to marry. It should be possible for Australians with different beliefs and values to live harmoniously alongside each other. All Australians should be able to live their lives according to their own beliefs and values. No group should impose their beliefs and values on another group nor anyone be forced to agree with the beliefs and values of another.

Australia has obligations under the ICCPR (Article 18.4) to recognise and protect “the liberty of parents ... to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.” Parents who have genuine and deeply held beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman and/or that human sexuality is binary, biological male and female, complementary and be reflected in sexual relationships should have to be informed if any gender-fluid theory of human sexuality or marriage is to be taught in their child’s school so they can request their child be released from such classes which are inconsistent with their beliefs and/or values.

Australia has obligations under international law as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR) to ensure protection of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice and to “either individually or in community with others and in public or in private to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” (Article 18.1) A young girl was sacked because of her view that Australians could say NO to redefining the institution of marriage. Catholic Archbishop Porteous of Hobart had a complaint of discrimination made against him for disseminating the church’s view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman to parents with children in Catholic schools. Although the complaint was eventually withdrawn it raised the issue of the ability of the church to freely express its view on marriage. In a video released by Monash University, Professor Gerber calls for the winding back of religious freedoms in Australia, removing the right of faith-based schools and other institutions to hire staff in accordance with their ethos.

*The following people presented submissions which were substantially similar to, or variations of, this submission
Gary Finch Ashley Dillon Mary Schultze Jony Beck-Joordens
Grace Dickins P. and C. Bennett Brother Robert McLernon Aldo Gionta
Paul Spicer