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You can’t do this because it’s against my religious beliefs

With the cross-party bill on marriage equality likely to be introduced next week, debate is hotting up. In a show of solidarity, the owners of Canberra airport greeted arriving politicians with a rainbow light show and Australian Marriage Equality’s new national campaign slogan, #WeCanDoThis.

Marriage equality opponents, The Marriage Alliance, have hit the airwaves with a new advertising campaign with the slogan “there’s more to it than you think”.

The Marriage Alliance says it’s funded by individual donors with founding directors including former investment banker Jim Dominguez, Prof Ashley Goldsworthy, the former Australian Liberal Party President who along with company Director Mark Phillips has also had involvement in Catholic education.

The Alliance says it wants to save Australia from what it calls “a populous wave of ill-conceived cultural redefinition”.

“It’s time to step back and consider all the issues around same sex marriage. Like how it will affect children or sex education in schools or what rights you could lose.”

They claim legalising same sex marriage could cost people their right to privacy, and their freedom of speech and beliefs.

An article in the Age by Patrick Parkinson, a professor of law at the University of Sydney and a founder of Freedom for Faith, elaborates on these concerns.

He suggests that authorised celebrants and staff of registry offices and people who have built businesses in the wedding industry ought to have a right of conscientious objection.

If private business people choose to turn away customers, so be it, but staff at registry offices are government employees who have a legal obligation to do their job, regardless of their personal political or religious views.

Professor Parkinson said “those who advocate for a change to the law need to consider how to respect the rights of those who hold traditional views, including our ethnic minorities and many Indigenous Australians.”

That’s news to me that Indigenous Australians hold traditional views on marriage. And just how and when did that happen? In the missions and orphanages where they were being sexually and physically abused by their religious “protectors”?

Parkinson points out that “The great majority of our recent migrants come from countries that hold to traditional views about family life.” Some of them also come from countries where female genital mutilation is an accepted practice. Some come from countries where an adulterous woman gets stoned to death or where drinking alcohol is punished by public whipping.

In our multicultural society we must indeed respect the rights of our ethnic minorities just as they must respect the rights of others. Muslim and Jewish people do not eat pork but that doesn’t mean that it is not sold in supermarkets.

Those that campaign against halal certification for food are often the same people who are against marriage equality. They insist we respect their beliefs but are not willing to do so for others.

In an interesting view, Parkinson says “It ought to be unlawful for people to suffer discrimination because they express traditional views.”

I don’t see anyone who is against same-sex marriage being discriminated against but the discrimination in not allowing SSM is obvious. Parkinson says that freedom of speech is under attack because opponents are being called bigots. Considering a bigot is “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions”, I would suggest that the label is appropriate.

The Professor says that “Religious freedom is in Australia’s DNA” and goes on to cite the example of Lutherans who established the South Australian wine industry after fleeing religious persecution in Germany.

“We owe it to the nation to ensure that their descendants – faithful, decent and useful citizens – continue to enjoy freedom of religion and conscience, without fear of persecution for their beliefs about marriage.”

And what do we owe to our LGBTI community?

“Labor, being the major party advocating change, needs to advance policies for how to protect its left-behind believers, and indeed those of other political persuasions or none, who might otherwise suffer hardship or discrimination on account of their beliefs if the law changes.”

Oh for pity’s sake.

As one commenter said:

Those who oppose SSM on religious grounds simply need to understand the difference between these two statements:

“I can’t do this because it’s against my religious beliefs”.

“YOU can’t do this because it’s against my religious beliefs”.


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  1. kerri

    Oh Kaye Lee I love you!
    Every time I read an article of yours and I am mentally preparing a point to make in my comment?
    There it is in the next paragraph I read!!
    You have hit the nail squarely with this article!
    But I seriously wonder when the religious diehards are going to realise, that quite apart from the ludicrous concept that is religious faith, there are fewer and fewer people willing to sell their soul to organised religion when it, by far, sets the worst moral examples on earth!
    Long live the fairy man in the sky! Or the Celestial Teapot!

  2. Jollyjumbuck

    You people talk about the respect of others who don’t believe in this SSM. Where is our Freedom of Speech? Freedom and Tolerance are two very different things. You call people who don’t believe in this Bigots! What right do you have to accuse us of that? Female genital multilation, in your book we should accept this? Kill animals in barbaric ways, we should accept this? women who are adulterers should be stoned to death, we should accept this, because it all come from other cultures. All I can say is thank God there are some of us left who believe marriage is between a man and a woman and indignity and cruelity are not excepted and should be never excepted in any society

  3. Kaye Lee

    You seen to be exercising your freedom of speech Jollyjumbuck. As far as being a bigot is concerned, are you tolerant of people who are in favour of SSM? If not, refer to the definition. You seem to have misunderstood my references to FGM etc. Just because people have traditional beliefs does NOT mean they should be imposed on the wider community. I agree indignity and cruelty are unacceptable as is discrimination against people for their sexual orientation.

  4. diannaart

    Of course. Look how slave owners suffered when slavery was banned in the OECD countries. The sun refused to shine when women were given the vote. No doubt toads will fall from the sky when our First Nation people actually get to preside over their own lives and future, let’s not forget that crops will fail if religions are ever questioned AND brought to account.

    Of course all hell will break loose if people who wish to create a life with each other, declare that love by getting married publicly! – the “Marriage Alliance” will never be able to walk safe in our streets ever again and even worse stuff will happen, because people who love each other have been given permission to declare such love formally.

    Love your work Kaye Lee – now I must get outside to toad-proof the roof…

  5. mars08


    I Jollyjumbuck implying that same-sex marriage is equivalent to stoning women to death or animal cruelty?

  6. Mark Needham

    SSM is about validation or acceptance of homosexual people, by heterosexual people.
    Mark Needham

  7. Kaye Lee

    In my view it is about letting two people who love each other marry should they wish to do so. My husband and I got married to keep our parents happy, we weren’t fussed. But if ANYONE had told me I COULDN’T marry him I would have been furious.

    And the homosexual people I know aren’t hanging on “validation” from me. They are just normal people who want the same choices we all have.

  8. mars08

    SSM is about equal rights. Equal rights is partially about acceptance. Any legislation passed in this country would take nothing away from heterosexuals.

  9. mars08

    Good grief, it must be ghastly being a middle-aged, white, heterosexual male in this country… under attack from so many angles….

  10. Anomander

    One can readily choose to follow a particular brand of religion, or indeed to or not follow a religion at all. It’s all a matter of conscious choice.

    The same can’t be said about being gay, despite what the religious extremists may proclaim.

  11. Anomander

    @mars08. I’m a middle-aged, white, heterosexual male in this country and I don’t feel threatened whatsoever by SSM.

  12. mars08

    @Anomander… well, obviously you aren’t paying enough attention!!!

    Really think about it, you WILL be terrified! I mean… gays, welfare cheats, feminists, Aborigines, environmentalist, Muslims, pacifists, Asians, socialists, vegetarians, hipsters, cyclists… where does it end?

  13. mars08

    @diannaart… when did everyone start getting so uppity and sensitive? It’s political correctness gone mad!!!

    … ittth a conthspiracy i tellz ya…!!

  14. mars08

    Let me just start the stopwatch… and see how long before someone chimes in with the patented “reverse racism” retort…

  15. Kaye Lee

    If you want all those comments rolled into one big butterball, let me present George Christensen, champion of the anti-marriage equality campaign, defender of Reclaim Australia, and leader of the fight against halal certification……

    As editor of a student newspaper, he published a series of virulently racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and woman-hating rants back in1998.

    On one page, Christensen expressed concern that new versions of the Bible were “removing accusations that the Jews killed Christ.”

    On another page, he tells jokes about AIDS:

    “A homosexual walks into the Doctor’s office, sobbing. ‘Doctor, Doctor’, he says ‘ think I’ve got AIDS. ‘Well,’ replied the Doctor, shocked ‘Who gave it to you?’

    ‘I dunno, says the homosexual. ‘I haven’t got eyes in the back of my head.’

    In an article about the Hollywood actor Will Smith he expressed his thoughts on women:

    “Most Aussie men often try to crack onto good-looking women and neglect the not-so-good looking (read fat) ones

    Perhaps it’s the intelligence of women or, rather, the lack of it?

    My thoughts: the truth is women are stupid and that’s that. So on behalf of you, me and the guy that’s shrugging his shoulders in bewilderment after reading his sister’s copy of Dolly, let me just say: Will Smith, you’re lucky God gave women no bloody brains.”

    Other contributions express concern about the special privileges being bestowed on Aborigines, the transgendered, republicans and so on. He is even critical of former Prime Minister John Howard for being a sell-out to aboriginal interests. He argues that there is an Australian system of “apartheid” which benefits Aborigines through land rights, Abstudy and so on.

  16. diannaart

    Kay Lee

    I am not sayin’ you’re parochial, but… Donald Trump is way more impo’tent than your small-fry, small-town VIP, just sayin’…

  17. Kaye Lee


    I find it terribly hard to take Trump seriously. I’m even giggling as I type that. He is too moronic to find offensive. I know he is rich and running to be President but that is just too ridiculous to contemplate – dare I say it – even more ridiculous than Abbott. Oh shit…….

  18. diannaart

    Kay Lee

    …he is rich and running to be President but that is just too ridiculous to contemplate – dare I say it – even more ridiculous than Abbott. Oh shit…….…. now you get it.

  19. Anomander

    I was sitting down to dinner at home a few weeks ago when there was a loud knock on the front door.

    “I wonder who that is?” I said to my wife and I put my dinner aside and got up to answer the door.

    Outside were two young men dressed in black suits and ties, each holding a bible.

    One said “Good evening Sir, my friend and were wondering if you would like to learn about Jesus Christ”.

    “Hang on while I go grab a pen and paper” I replied, while I went away to collect them.

    I returned to the door with my pen and pad at the ready.

    “Firstly” I said “can I grab both or your names and home addresses?”

    “What? Our addresses? Why?” spluttered the first young man.

    “Because I want to come around to your f*cking house while you’re in the middle of dinner and ask you if you want to learn how to tell fact from fiction”.

    Taken aback, the first young man said “Well… There’s no need to be rude”.

    “Pah, that’s not rude – this is rude. F*ck off!” and closed the door.

  20. diannaart


    I do that, except for saying “f*ck off” – always maintain the moral superiority.

    Have not succeeded in getting anyone’s address….. yet.

  21. Itsazoosue

    Thanks, Kaye Lee for another great article.

    Jollyjumbuck, what a long bow you have drawn attempting to link marriage equality with genital mutilation and halal slaughter. Thanks for the laugh. May I suggest it is not freedom of speech you desire but the wish to broadcast your opinions without opposition? If your beliefs are rooted in fact they should stand up to scrutiny and debate. If you are unable to argue against being labelled a bigot, what conclusions are we to draw?

    If your reading of religion finds same-sex marriage to be taboo don’t marry a gay person.. I’m told God is not big on judging others either. You might bear this in mind before deeming an entire sector of the population unfit to marry.

  22. Aortic

    I like the story (apocryphal) of the god botherers who come to the door and they are warmly invited in to a warm lounge on a bitter cold night. The host then asks if they would like to have a hot drink and hurries off to the kitchen to fill the requests. Returns with the drinks and grilled cheese on toast. “Now he says, tell me what you have come to say.” Gobsmacked they retort, ” we dont know, we have never gotten this far before.” How is it any business of either government or the never ending strands of religion, all claiming to have the “truth” on who loves whom and who marries whom?

  23. Terry2


    “I can’t do this because it’s against my religious beliefs”.

    “YOU can’t do this because it’s against my religious beliefs”

    the two statements sum up the situation precisely : no more needs to be said.

  24. Peter F

    I wonder how many of those who are strongly against SSM on religious grounds watched ‘COMPASS’ on ABC TV these past two Sunday nights? Congratulations to the ABC and Geraldine Doog for airing this compassionate story of two men who, over a time span of 40 years ,fought to have their marriage accepted. Watch on iView, if you are open minded enough. You MIGHT learn something, though it seems unlikely.

  25. eli nes

    Sadly, the boys at the top hide behind the silence of belief and protect each other from religious questioning.(why is labor silent on the Popes climate change???). On April 24th the ABC showed muslim families, on children’s day, happily playing in the park of a town near Gallipoli. with no cultural paraphernalia in sight.
    Why can the footage not be found and shown to the public? Perhaps for hijab, burqa and niqab cultures such exposure would be dangerous???

  26. keerti

    I haven’t beeen able to understand the institution of marriage for as long as I can remember (that’s a long time!). I did get married once, all the other times I lived in sin! I believe that it is an outmoded archaic device which had relevance when women were the chattells of men. Now that men are the chattells of the liberal government there is no reason to subject ourselves to it. Until marriage is outlawed as the costly, lawyer and cleric driven device that it is, the world will not progress. All those who don’t agree…

  27. Kyran

    Having followed the Irish referendum and the ebb and flow of the ‘for and ‘against’ campaigns, it seems to me there are many similarities with our own ‘argument’. Of particular note was the funding for the two campaigns and the accusations made against the respective groups. As I understand it, the Irish “Standards in Public Office Commission” is still investigating the legality of many of the donations.

    My point is that the rhetoric of the ‘no’ campaign was ramped up with increasing hysteria as the vote date approached. All of the usual unfounded claims of impact on children, beastiality, decline of societal moral values, freedom of speech, etc. And, oh yeh, the sky was going to fall.

    There have been several articles written since, pointing out the children are not adversely impacted, the livestock are safe, moral bankruptcy remains the domain of the politicians and the Irish are still talking (try stop them talking!). And, oh yeh, the sky is still there.

    As the hysteria here ramps up, I cannot help but wonder if the funding in Australia is from the same source as the funding was (allegedly) in Ireland. I cannot help but wonder if the minority opinion (by all accounts) will be amplified by cashed up U.S. ‘interest’ groups.

    Thank you, Ms Lee. Take care

  28. Matters Not

    the sky was going to fall.

    Early days. Early days. Allah moves in mysterious ways. So I’m told.

    There was never a mention of a timeframe.

  29. Kaye Lee

    The “Marriage Alliance” claims Channels 7 and 10 have refused to run TV advertisements created by the group against gay marriage.

    Campaign spokeswoman Sophie York said today she was outraged that Channels 7 and 10 had allegedly refused to run the ads.

    “It is quite shocking that two major TV networks are denying the basic right to freedom of speech and expression on an issue that supports the current law of the nation,” she said.

    Ms York said the Marriage Alliance wanted to find out what impacts legalising same sex marriage would have.

    “We so have to find out what ramifications there will be. What will be the effects, there’ll be so little discussion about this,” she said at the launch last Sunday.

    The group said it had contacted Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make them aware of the decision.

    “Has political correctness or the power of a certain lobby group reached so far down that it now erodes the once proud Australian ‘fair-go’ character that it is preventing ordinary Australians from having a voice?” Ms York said.

    So they want cake makers and marriage celebrants to be able to refuse certain customers based on their beliefs but they refuse to allow tv stations the same rights?

    And this woman thinks there has been no discussion about the “ramifications”? What rock has she been living under?

  30. Kyran

    A recent study on the children of same sex couples found they were healthier and happier. Funnily enough, the primary challenge to the report from ‘Family Voice Australia’ was that the lead researcher was not objective as he was in a same sex relationship with two children. Attack the messenger, not the message.
    The most recent figures I could find on marriage and divorce were from 2013.
    “Civil celebrants have overseen the majority of marriages since 1999 and the proportion of marriage ceremonies overseen by a civil celebrant increased again to 72.5 per cent of all marriages in 2013.”
    If the churches are involved in less than 30% of ‘the market’, why should their ‘opinion’ account for 100% of the argument?
    The right of institutions to dictate how people outside their institution should behave is nonsensical. That any government would argue to enshrine the right of the institution over the interest of its constituents is, to me, equally nonsensical.
    As an aside, Matters Not. I would imagine if the god’s were seriously aggrieved, retribution would be swift. Divorce, abortion, introduction of the carbon levy, were all going to raze cities. May your god go with you. Take care

  31. abbienoiraude

    We too got married, Kaye Lee, for the sake of our parents ( back in 1973).
    My parents were concerned I was ‘living in sin’ and his parents didn’t believe I was good enough for son and was using him in some way.
    We would be together if we were married or not. It meant nothing to us.

    But we insist that true freedom and equality means all people have a right to public institutions and marriage is one of those. ( The Church came to it in the 16 Century. It was always political before that as in ‘whose land was wanted and whose power was being built.’ Otherwise it was about heirs and keeping things in families ..women were just breeders).

    Funny how the religious always ignore how much polygamy was in their Special Book. Why aren’t they agitating for that ‘tradition’?

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