Can We Still Have Our Own Opinions on SSM?
John Wilson from the Presbyterian Church wrote about protections for those expressing opinions that stand in contrast to SSM or, what occurs in schools when teachers might be required to teach about matters that they conscientiously object to (The Australian, Aug 22).
“The proposed changes to the Marriage Act are far-reaching and must not be taken lightly. Those proposing a private member’s bill in favour of same-sex marriage say clergy will be afforded legal protections for counselling, officiating and speaking with respect to weddings. However, would this prevent ministers and evangelists such as Campbell Markham and David Gee from being hauled before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner when one referred to same-sex marriage in a blog and the other in a street meeting in Hobart?
If same-sex marriage becomes law this will have a significant and disturbing impact on our schools. There is no doubt that teachers will be required to teach pupils about the validity of same-sex marriage. What protections will there be if they conscientiously object? In Victoria, state policy is that “schools must support and respect sexual diversity, including same-sex attraction”. Further, “learning within other domains such as English, the humanities and civics and citizenship provides many opportunities to include sexually diverse content … and … texts that incorporate the theme of same-sex relationships”.
This policy seems to penetrate most areas of the curriculum and no doubt will trouble many teachers for emotional, moral, philosophical as well as religious reasons. They are right to be troubled. In Canada, which went down this path in 2005, there are no exemptions for teachers in state or faith-based schools. They must support this material despite misgivings.
What implications will this have in schools associated with the Presbyterian Church … Will this proposed bill afford them protections? …. We just don’t know.
There are consequences to redefining marriage, such that may affect ordinary Australians who uphold the traditional view of marriage and who ask for the fundamental freedom to say so.
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