From the Guardian: "John Howard has called for conscientious objectors to same-sex marriage to be given legal protection, drawing attention to the prospect the Coalition could legislate to allow people to refuse to provide goods and services to gay weddings.
Howard said: “I do think one thing that has to be addressed is the question of proper protection of religious freedom, and freedom of conscience in relation to people who might in a tangential way be affected by this.”
The reference to people “tangentially affected” by same-sex marriage suggests Howard was referring to people other than ministers of religion, who Labor and the Coalition both agree should not be forced to conduct gay weddings.
Last week, the attorney general, George Brandis, refused to rule out exemptions to anti-discrimination law which would allow bakers, photographers, venue owners and others to refuse to provide services for gay weddings.
Labor has already ruled out supporting such changes.
Howard reiterated his opposition to marriage equality, and said opponents should not be “frightened or bullied into silence” by accusations of bigotry.