Last year, Cory Bernardi wrote a blog entitled, “Freedom to Refuse Must Be Defended”, which included the following:
“And this is the essence of the dilemma we now face; is it okay for any business to say they simply don’t want your business for any or no reason? Personally I think it is, but that freedom has to be defended and protected so that it applies to any business, no matter what side of a debate they are on.”
Seems a fairly clear position. Recently, however, something seems to have changed his mind.
You see, the Coalition for Marriage – a rather strange title, given that they were formed with the sole aim of preventing same sex people from marrying each other, thus reducing the number of potential marriages – had their booking cancelled at Wrest Point Casino.
This, of course, was outrageous. As Cory said, “…there are legitimate questions to be asked why a venue that has been booked and paid for has suddenly become unavailable with no reason given about why. If nothing else, it is a terrible business practice.”
Until the University of Tasmania changed their minds and made space available, there was going to be nowhere for these people to tell us all how marriage equality was going to lead to businesses being forced to provide services to people when they didn’t approve of the way such people lived their lives.
Anyone else see a certain irony here?
Of course, the Coalition for Marriage is only concerned about people being forced to provide services when it offends their religious beliefs. Like I suggested the other week, do atheists and agnostics need to start their own religion in order to be able to exclude people?
Imagine the following:
I appoint myself as High Priest of the Church of St Adamsmith, a denomination of Tax Avoiding Economic Rationalists. Like all churches, we pay no tax, but in our case it’s a religious belief. Anybody can make a tax deductible contribution and in return feel the Church’s generous bounty when it returns 99% of their gift, saving them the need for offices in the Cayman Islands. (Ok, I realise there’s probably a flaw in this, but stick with it. Gee, if people can re-elect Malcolm Turnbull, it’s not much to ask you to stick with the ridiculous for a few moments.)
Anyway, the Coalition for Marriage try to book our venue…
High Priest Rossleigh – Sorry, we can’t help you.
Coalition for Marriage – But why not?
HPR – Your activities offend our religious principles!
CFM – In what way?
HPR – I don’t like your lifestyle.
CFM – What’s wrong with our lifestyle?
HPR – It’s unnatural.
CFM – What do you mean by that?
HPR – We’ll, it’s different from mine.
CFM – That’s just idiotic. Just because we have a different lifestyle doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to book your venue!
HPR – Stop bullying me and calling me names.
CFM – But what you’re saying makes no sense.
HPR – I’m just worried if I let you spread your message, we’ll end up with polygamous marriages like Solomon and all those other biblical kings.
CFM – We just want to book a venue…
HPR – Yes, but it’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? First, a venue, then you’ll be advocating the stoning of adulterous women.
CFM – Nobody wants to introduce stoning!
HPR – We’re also worried that a lot of you are Christian.
CFM – What’s wrong with that?
HPR – We’ll, wasn’t the founder a Middle-Eastern Jew? We don’t think we want that sort of person in our venue?
CFM – You can’t exclude us because Jesus was Jewish!
HPR – So, it’d be ok to exclude you because he was middle-eastern?
CFM – It’s illegal to be anti-Semitic.
HPR – Can we get an exemption if we say it’s part of our religion?
Yes, of course, nobody should be given an exemption from racial or religious vilification. That’d just be wrong. It’d be suggesting that somehow their human rights were disposable.
Sexual preference, on the other hand…