To whom it may concern,
I would like to make a brief submission about the movement for and legislation of ‘two people marriage’ in relation to the religious freedom of ESL teachers and immigrants studying English in formal settings.
I am concerned that, in the future, ESL teachers may feel pressured by course material and supervisors to teach things about marriage, family and equality that are contrary to their religious beliefs. I am also concerned that immigrants and other ESL students may feel pressured by classroom content and citizenship tests to say and do things contrary to their beliefs about marriage, family and equality.
I am concerned because some politicians and local, state and federal governments have not taken a dispassionate stance on the legislation ‘two people marriage’. There has been frequent use of the phrase ‘marriage equality’, active promotion of a ‘yes’ vote in the recent survey and enthusiastic celebration of the amendment to the marriage act by politicians and governments. I am also concerned because of media stories about a large percentage of ‘no’ voters being immigrants living in western Sydney and public calls to address this ‘issue’.
I would like to propose that Australia could have a bill of religious freedom which would include a recognition of religious traditions having their own valuable and detailed beliefs and customs about marriage, family and equality and a right for religious believers to express them in word and deed. I would also like to propose that government designed or approved material and methods for ESL, citizenship tests and other education impartially teach that Australia has a variety of beliefs and customs about marriage, family and equality.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my submission.