Same-sex marriage and religious freedom

The AMF Team commends to readers some good recent commentary on the issue of same-sex marriage and why it creates religious freedom issues, for churches in particular.

Paul Kelly from The Australian wrote that:

In political terms, legalisation of same-sex marriage brings state and church into direct conflict. To try to solve this problem, Labor activists specify that changes to the Marriage Act will not impose an obligation on a minister of religion to solemnise any marriage. This is the escape clause and it is pivotal. It is designed to permit religious freedom to continue to exist in Australia. Only a fool would accept this at face value.

The churches know this issue penetrates to the heart of religious freedom. Once the state changes the meaning of marriage, can you imagine the pressures all religions will face to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies against their will? The Christian churches, at some point, will become the focus of attack for denying gay marriage ceremonies in the name of religious faith.

While churches will enjoy an initial exemption from the state's law, that exemption over time will be attacked as an anomaly. No religion will accept at face value any guarantee from the Labor Party.

Meanwhile, commentator Andrew Bolt has written:

IT was meant to stop us worrying, but one bit of Labor's new policy for same-sex marriage is a warning.

I mean this: "These amendments should ensure that nothing in the Marriage Act imposes an obligation on a minister of religion to solemnise any marriage."

I'm sure most of the delegates at Labor's national conference on the weekend did mean it.

They just wanted the law changed so men could marry men, and women could marry women.

And they didn't want to use equal opportunity laws to then force churches to bless them.

But I wouldn't take this guarantee to the bank.

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