Ever since the 'marriage equality' debate started in Australia some years ago, I've been thinking I must be a heretic or something similar.
The reason? I don't believe in same-sex marriage nor do I believe there are no consequences for those who go down this 'road' but I often feel I'm out there on my own, 'swimming against the tide.'
Those pushing the debate for 'marriage equality' assume the change is a self-evident good and we should all be on board. I wonder how many Australians have just assumed same-sex marriage has no consequences and haven't heard the case against the issue.
Unfortunately, I haven't heard many cases put forward for the other side of the debate. If they are out there being put forward then the media are not covering it in any depth. CS Lewis, the author of the Narnia children's books, famously said 'the most dangerous form of truth is assumed truth.'
Violent and Vitriolic
Lyle Shelton is the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby and in a recent article on this same subject wrote of how the assumption of 'marriage equality' was all good and no bad, was shaken when Mercure Hotel staff at Sydney airport received orchestrated telephone calls from same-sex marriage activists threatening violence if their bosses didn't cancel a booking on a meeting room for pro man-woman marriage advocates.
Mr Shelton said staff at venues booked by the Australian Christian Lobby have faced this many times before, but this time the threats were more violent and vitriolic, creating a genuine safety concern.
"People called together by the pro man-woman marriage campaign were forced to meet in secret; something I never thought would happen in the country I grew up in and love," he said. "The 130 leaders, who all managed to covertly find their way to the new venue with just 24-hours' notice, met underground in a spirit of defiance of the political elites pushing for change.
"There is something about being forced to the catacombs which electrifies the atmosphere. A movement to advocate for the good of man-woman marriage was forged that night in secret in Sydney."
Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commission
So why are those pushing for same-sex marriage and 'marriage equality' trying to demonise anyone who does not want to see change?
Further, if you think my case is too 'thin,' then take heed of what happened recently in Tasmania.
Archbishop Julian Porteous spent six months answering to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission over the Don't Mess With Marriage handbook he distributed.
Legal action against dissenters is a real and present threat. Reports of florists, bakers, and photographers being litigated against and fined for living out their conscientiously-held beliefs about marriage are easily dismissed as from the 'only in America' file.
But here at home, Archbishop Julian Porteous, the kindly pastoral leader of Hobart's Catholic community, spent six months tied up before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission. His crime? Distributing gentle and respectful material outlining Christian teaching on marriage. Those who reported Archbishop Porteous to the authorities said he was distributing 'hate' material.
In fact, if the law is changed, any of us who wishes to say out loud that the truth of marriage is a man-woman thing could find themselves hauled before a tribunal or commission for breaking the law. Stripping marriage of the gender requirement sends a powerful legal and cultural message that gender is no longer relevant in the institution which is the building block of society.
Freedom of Speech?
If people think 18C of the federal Racial Discrimination Act is a barrier to the precious human right of freedom of speech, this will be nothing compared to the turbocharging of state-based anti-discrimination law caused by a change to the federal Marriage Act.
Rainbow political activists know this and so the new frontier of genderless sex education is already being imposed in our schools under the so-called 'Safe Schools' program. Children as young as four are reportedly being instructed in gender transitioning.
Most of the consequences of changing the legal definition of marriage under federal law are triggered by state laws regulating discrimination, school education and assisted reproductive technology.
By declaring same-sex marriage a simple change with protections for pastors, our federalist Attorney-General George Brandis can wash his hands of the avalanche of consequences unleashed under state law.
Same-sex Couples already have equality under the law
Another thing most Australians assume is that there is material discrimination against same-sex couples. Few know about the 85 laws changed in 2008 giving same-sex couples equality under the law with heterosexual couples.
Inequality is a myth. The assumptions underpinning the movement to redefine marriage should be subject to scrutiny.
John Skinner served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam then the Tasmanian Police before taking up the position of CEO of the Australian Rough Riders Association (professional rodeo based in Warwick Qld). Before retirement to his small farm, he was a photo-journalist for 25 years. He is married with 3 children and 6 grandchildren.
John Skinner's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/john-skinner.html