JOE KELLY – Political Reporter
Originally published in The Australian
The heads of Australia’s churches have written an open letter to both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten sounding the alarm on the lack of religious freedoms included in a bill to legalise same sex marriage.
The letter, sent today, was signed by 14 of the most senior Church leaders in the country and appealed to both leaders to make good on their undertakings during the postal survey to uphold religious freedoms.
The religious leaders warn that the Senate had “voted against amendments that aim to reasonably accommodate these matters” and argue the marriage bill due to debated in the House of Representatives next week does not adequately address freedoms of conscience, belief and religion.
“It is our view that the amendments to the bill proposed by Senators Paterson and Fawcett in the Senate on November 28 2017 provide balanced and reasonable measures that respond to such concerns,” they say.
South Australian Liberal Senator David Fawcett and his Victorian Senate colleague, James Paterson, unsuccessfully moved five amendments in the Senate this week to better protect faith-based charities, preserve parental rights and shield individuals from being targeted for continuing to uphold traditional marriage.
The amendments were defeated on the floor of the Senate, with the 14 religious leaders today warning the legalisation of same sex marriage will force an immediate question as to “whether a charity that holds a traditional view of marriage will retain its charity status at law.”
“A change in a social institution that is as fundamental as that of marriage has wideranging implications for our community,” they say.
NOTE: The very first point raised in the letter is the protection of parental rights!