The ability for Tasmanians to speak freely about their views on marriage remains stifled after the Tasmanian Upper House voted down an amendment to the Anti-Discrimination Act on August 17.

Even if the failed bill had passed, it would have done nothing to protect those who are being silenced for speaking out about their concerns with redefining marriage, Coalition for Marriage spokesman, Mark Brown said.

“The unwillingness of the Parliament to pass minor amendments that would allow faith leaders to preach about marriage to their congregations is a clear sign of the threats to freedom of speech in Tasmania.” Mr Brown said.

“At a time when all Australians are preparing to have a say on same-sex marriage, Tasmanians are being silenced,” Mr Brown said. “Tasmanians should be rightly concerned that same-sex marriage activists will use these laws to intimidate and bully those who want to raise questions or concerns about the redefinition of marriage into silence, as they have done in the past.”

“In the case of the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, the Anti-Discrimination Act was used as a weapon in political debate. The Archbishop, at considerable financial and emotional cost, was tied up for several months by the Anti-Discrimination Commission simply for putting the Catholic position on marriage to those in Catholic churches and schools,” Mr Brown said.

“The use of anti-discrimination laws to penalise traditional views on marriage will only be increased if same-sex marriage becomes law.”

The Coalition for Marriage called on all Australians who are concerned about the consequences that redefining marriage will have on free speech to ensure their voices are heard in the upcoming plebiscite.