Archbishop’s booklet may have been discriminatory

Archbishop PorteousTasmania’s Anti-discrimination commission has ruled that the Catholic church and Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous may have a case to answer in relation to the church’s ‘Don’t mess with marriage’ booklet.

A complaint about the booklet was raised by transgender activist and Green parliamentary candidate Martine Delaney. Ms Delaney has argued that the booklet that set out the church’s opposition to same sex marriage was harmful to same sex couples and their families.

Ms Delaney told the ABC that the booklet made several statement about the children of same sex couples that she believed were discriminatory and not true.

“It makes several statements which suggest that children being raised in same-sex relationships are not healthy,” Ms Delaney said.

Archbishop Porteous said the Catholic Archbishops who distributed the booklet across the nation had not intended to cause offence. Archbishop Porteous said the church would not withdraw the booklet saying it was a document that outlined the church’s position.

“It’s just simply us presenting what we believe to be right and true and good,” he said.

The two parties have agreed to attend mediation about the dispute, but if they are unable to resolve their difference it will proceed to court.

Lyle SheltonAustralian Christian Lobby outraged by decision

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has voiced their opposition to the Anti-discrimination commission’s decision.

Describing Robin Banks, the head of the commission as a czar, the ACL said the move would have sent chills down the spines of millions of ordinary Australian Christians.

Lyle Shelton, the Managing Director of lobby group defended the church’s controversial booklet.

“This was a respectful pamphlet which simply outlined Christian teaching on marriage and why children should be given every opportunity to be raised by their mother and father” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton said the booklet reflected Australian law and should not be considered offensive. Mr Shelton said same sex couples don’t face any discrimination and the same sex political agenda had gone far enough.

“It is not possible to have a fair debate if one side is to be bullied into silence with the threat of legal action for simply expressing its view.

“The totalitarian instinct of the same-sex political activists should concern every Australian.” Mr Shelton said.

Call to remove anti-discrimination laws

The ACL has called on the government to over rule the anti-discrimination laws in all states so people who believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman can voice their opinions without fear of breaking the law.

“Unless there is protection for free speech, any victory for same-sex marriage in the Turnbull Government’s promised plebiscite will be tarnished and divisive of the Australian community.

“It is absolutely critical that the plebiscite be completely fair to both sides.

“The ability to speak freely is a precondition of a fair process.” Mr Shelton said.

Family Voice Australia has echoed the Australian Christian Lobby’s call for the laws to be removed. Tasmanian Director Jim Collins said Ms Delaney was using the laws as a blunt instrument against freedom.

Mr Collins said Ms Delaney should not be offended by the contents of the booklet as she was not its intended recipient. The Family Voice spokesman suggested that Ms Delaney had lodged the complaint as a publicity stunt.

“The publicity surrounding this claim of offence seemingly coincides with Delaney’s bid to become a federal MP,” he said.  “Some will see this as a cynical publicity stunt. Mr Collins said.

Catholic website describes transgender complainant as ‘Tasmanian Devil’

A US based website, that describes it’s self as promoting Catholic values through digital media, has described Tasmanian Greens candidate Martine Delaney as a ‘Tasmanian Devil’.

Michigan based online publication Church Militant reported on the dispute between Delaney and Archbishop Porteous comparing the complainant to the state’s famous carnivorous marsupial.

The article encourages readers to visit the ACL’s website and sign a petition calling for the Tasmanian parliament to remove the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

abetz (1)Senator Eric Abetz fails to launch motion supporting the Church

The ALC’s call for anti-discrimination laws to be removed follows Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz failing to have a motion put forward in the senate on Thursday.

Senator Abetz, an outspoken opponent of same sex marriage, attempted to put forward a motion arguing that the senate should support the Catholic church’s right to destribute the booklet.

The motion read; “The Senate, while not expressing a view on the contents of the booklet issued by the Australian Catholic bishops conference entitled Don’t Mess with Marriage, fully supports the rights of members of the Catholic church, including Archbishop Julian Porteous, to distribute it.”

Support for Senator Abetz motion was given by a number of crossbenchers, including the independent senator John Madigan, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, Family First senator Bob Day, and Palmer United party’s Dio Wang.

However, before the issue could be put to a vote it was blocked by Labor and The Greens.

The Liberal Senator said the opposing parties were combining their forces to shut down free speech, and promised to reintroduce his motion next week.

Graeme Watson

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