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Is SSM only about SSM?

A number of commentators including the federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham have said that they believe Same Sex Marriage to be a very simple issue. The Minister was responding to the first TV advertisement from the Marriage Coalition where he rejected linking same sex marriage to issues in schools, saying that SSM was a ‘simple issue’ that should not be ‘conflated with other issues’.

I would agree with the Minister, in as much as to say, that bringing in a raft of peripheral issues leaves the ‘No’ campaign open to the sort of critique that he gave. However, I would respectfully disagree with the Minister that it is just simply about SSM. The longer term consequences for religious freedom protection are not clear at all (see Greg Sheridan’s article above or Paul Kelly’s article that follows). The lack of any clear legislative protection for Christian schools with regards to teaching or upholding their particular viewpoint about marriage is of great concern to us.

However, it was reassuring that the Minister said faith based schools in the future “will be able to teach according to their faith and including according to the definition of marriage according to their faith. That will be respected in future, as it is today. It is patently ridiculous to suggest that allowing same-sex couples to marry is somehow going to see some new sway of teaching reform sweep across the country. That’s just not going to happen.”

The sort of freedom that the Minister has mentioned is what we are advocating for with politicians. We seek those reassurances in legislation and not just in doorstep interviews. Please participate in advocating for this cause by writing to your local member (advice will arrive by email).

Click here for the Doorstop Interview, Sydney 30 August.

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