Why talk of same-sex marriage impinging on religious freedom is misconceived

Picture: theconversation苏州夜网Conservative religious organisations and politicians have played amajor role in preventing the introduction of same-sex marriage in and hope to do so again.

John Howardcitedconservative religious views when he banned same-sex marriage. Labor’s fear of losing religious voters to the Liberalscontributed to concessionsto the religious right, and saw it oppose same-sex marriage until 2011. Even then, Labor MPs opposed to same-sex marriage were granted an initialmoralconscience vote that contributed to a parliamentary votebeing lostunder the Gillard government.

Now, Malcolm Turnbull’s fear of alienating thereligious right in the Coalitionhas seen him agree to a plebiscite hepreviously opposed.

Conservative religious organisations are mobilising again. However, given increasing public support for same-sex marriage, including amongreligious adherents, they often argue that same-sex marriage is really aboutbroader issues, such as gender roles and parenting.

Talk of same-sex marriage impinging on religious freedom is misconceived: here’s why TweetFacebookWhat protections will be offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?But he only meant some kinds of protection:

Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?We were recently reminded sharply how strongthose protectionsalready are, givenreligious exemptionsfrom anti-discrimination law. Fisher’s Melbourne counterpart, Denis Hart,warnedthe church’s 180,000 employees against “any words or actions” – such as a gay wedding – that failed to “totally” uphold a “Catholic view of marriage”.

Religious organisations will remain free to refuse same-sex marriage if it is eventually introduced. Meanwhile, another group’s religious freedom seldom gets a mention.40 per centof n same-sex couples identify as Christian.

However, unlike inother countriesthat do not have government laws impinging on religious freedom by banning same-sex marriage, their marriages can currently not be religiously solemnised.

Clergy stand ready to officiate – “because of our faith, not in spite of our faith”, as someput it. Their religious freedom toadequately pastortheir LGBT congregants is currently constrained.

Not all Christian same-sex couples may want church weddings. The point about true freedom is having the choice.