Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission concerning religious freedom in Australia. We would particularly like to address the misuse of state and territory anti-discrimination laws by homosexual activists to suppress the freedom to express one’s religious beliefs.
There can be no doubt that the right of religious expression is integral to religious freedom. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18 recognises the right of freedom of religion to include the right “to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” And Article 19 explicitly recognises the more general right to freedom of expression as well.
Surely then, the right to simply disagree with the homosexual activists and defend marriage as the life-long union between a man and woman should be protected in Australia?
But many state and territory laws in effect contravene this right. For example, Toowoomba GP, Dr David Van Gend had a legal complaint lodged against him by a gay activist for simply stating his view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, as requested by the Courier-Mail newspaper which published his article alongside another opinion piece in favour of same-sex marriage. And steps were taken to prosecute Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart (and all members of the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference) under Tasmania’s Anti-discrimination Act simply for providing a Bishops’ Statement on marriage to parents of children in Catholic schools in his own archdiocese.
We therefore urge the panel to recognise that homosexual ‘marriage’ legislation will only serve to increase the grounds for religious persecution already exercised by homosexual activists. Please report on this danger and strive to recommend practical remedies before it is too late.
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|Helen Sherriff||Laurie Hermes||Siew-Lin Sea||Ann Losic|
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|Lenore Stevenson||Coen and Henny Boerlage||Cheryl Gothmann||Josephine Cory|
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