- The Australian
- 12:00AM July 28, 2016
- GARY JOHNS
I thought of writing a letter and posting it to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in response to his intemperate letter to Malcolm Turnbull about the same-sex marriage plebiscite. That would be polite. I would then await his reply and, in turn, ask permission to publish his letter to share our debate with others.
Alas, Andrews’s letter to the Prime Minister was published on Twitter before the PM’s reply. I guess we have come to expect poor behaviour among some advocates of same-sex marriage.
I agree that it would be ideal to have the parliament vote on this vanity issue and put it to bed.
I can understand why a Victorian Labor premier who stopped a road project that would have assisted hundreds of thousands of Victorian commuters and sent a bill of more than $1 billion to Victorian taxpayers just to keep his greenie mates in Carlton happy would want a distraction. I can also understand why a Victorian Labor premier with close connections to the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union and Electrical Trades Union would never want a vacuum in public discussion to allow opponents to raise the wasted billions of dollars on the mothballed desalination plant in Gippsland, built under a previous Labor administration.
Better to fight on the cultural front; it is a lot cheaper, but not without cost. Labor is good at fighting culture wars with public money. It wants to make the Safe Schools project compulsory for all Victorian children and to exclude parental objection to having their children exposed to the struggles of a tiny minority who are coming to terms with an indeterminate sexuality, or to those whose sexuality is definite but not conducive to begetting children. Empathy surely, but to have everyone question their sexuality to make these few more comfortable, hardly.
But I digress. Andrews asserts the same-sex marriage plebiscite will “legitimise a hateful debate that will subject LGBTI Australians to publicly funded slurs and denigration”. I can assure him that this advocate for the no case has always conducted the argument in the most respectful terms. It appears only leftist ideologues, such as the Premier, think all Australians are like his fraternity.
I have no doubt the plebiscite will go ahead and that there will be considerable interest as to who constitutes the yes and no case committees. I would presume that the group Marriage Alliance, along with mainstream churches, would be a candidate for the no case committee. There may be other groups who are concerned at any knock-on effect of a change to the definition of marriage. Many of these will be Pauline Hanson supporters. She has called for marriage to be confirmed in the Constitution as between a man and a woman.
One knock-on effect of a yes vote may be a loss of religious freedom. Last month, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld the Ontario Law Society’s decision (Trinity Western University v The Law Society of Upper Canada) to deny accreditation to the law school at Trinity Western University. The society did so because of the law school’s “discrimination” against homosexual marriage, which is legal in Canada.
The Ontario court ruled that though the decision by the Law Society infringed the right to religious freedom, it also found the university’s covenant on sexual behaviour discriminatory. The judgment described the essential issue as “involving a clash between religious freedom and equality”.
At this Christian university, staff and students must sign a covenant that forbids all sexual activity unless it is between a husband and a wife, which critics have argued discriminates against LGBTQ (different terminology in Canada) individuals.
The court was asked to rule on whether the Law Society’s decision was reasonable. The court found that the decision not to accredit the law school was reasonable because it did not prevent the practice of religious belief: “rather it denies a public benefit because of the impact of that religious belief on others — members of the LGBTQ community”.
Just contemplate that for a moment. Staff and students of the university freely enter into a covenant that deems that only married heterosexual couples may have sex. The Law Society argues that discriminates against LGBTQ couples and withholds accreditation. Young graduates from the law school will be unemployable in the profession. How is that reasonable or of public benefit?
Does the covenant make these graduates bad lawyers? LGBTQ couples could, of course, attend another university.
For Andrews, I am sure that it is the principle: to stick it up religious conservatives. He would rather denigrate his enemies than save LGBTI people from the horrors of a plebiscite.