The Coalition for Marriage expressed surprise and disappointment at Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis’ dismissal of concerns about the restrictions which might be placed on religious freedom if marriage is redefined. 

Ignoring numerous examples of serious impositions on religious freedoms in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage has been legalised, Senator Brandis on August 20 said that the decision to be made about same-sex marriage was not a broader debate about religious freedom.

“Respectfully, Senator Brandis needs to take the blinkers off,” said Lyle Shelton, spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage.

“Aaron and Melissa Klein of Oregon, who had to close their family bakery after they were fined $135,000 for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding know that the debate over same-sex marriage is also a debate about religious freedom.

“UK student Felix Ngole, who got kicked out of his social work degree at Sheffield University for posting his opinions on same-sex marriage on his personal Facebook page knows this conversation is about religious freedom.

“Canadian father Steve Tourloukis, who had the Supreme Court deny his right to remove his children from classes which taught extreme LGBTI sex education, even though the Court acknowledged it was a significant imposition on his religious freedom, knows that this is also a debate about religious freedom. So too do parents of students at Vishnitz Girls School, which now faces closure because it won’t teach LGBTI sex education to girls aged 3 to 11 years.

“Around the world, people of faith are experiencing the consequences of politicians or judges redefining marriage without regard to religious freedom,” Mr Shelton said.

The Coalition for Marriage reiterates the need for more detailed consideration of religious freedom before any question about whether to redefine marriage is put to the public.