Here is a draft letter that I’m writing for local MPs. I’m sure others can improve on it. I thought I would post it here, should it be helpful for other Australians who wish to express concerns to Canberra.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Following the results of the national marriage survey, I believe our Federal Parliament has two responsibilities, both which are necessary for maintaining the liberal democracy that we value in Australia.
First of all, while I do not support same sex marriage, there is a clear mandate from the people for the Parliament to redefine the Marriage Act; I believe that the Parliament should respect this.
Second, we need to ensure that freedom of speech, religion, and conscience, continue in our great country.
While, 7.8 million people voted for change, almost 5 million Australians voted against same sex marriage. Indeed, over 30,000 people in the electorate of Isaacs voted to retain the current definition of marriage.
The Dean Smith bill may provide protections for clergy who perform weddings, but as I’m sure you will agree, marriage is much more than a wedding. It must also be noted that the overwhelming majority of the 5 million Australians who voted against same sex marriage are not clergy, and therefore are beyond the scope of this bill’s limited protections.
As soon as the Marriage Act is reworded, future laws and interpretations of these laws, and future social norms will all be defined by this wording. This raises important questions for millions of Australians who with good conscience, do not support the corollary of expectations that will ensue throughout many parts of Australian culture. I am not advocating that we shield homophobia, for we all want to see those days gone, but affirming classical marriage does not equate to hating fellow Australians.
Here are three examples of concerns that I am hearing being asked,
Will Australians be guaranteed freedom to continue teaching and explaining the classical view of marriage and sexuality, not only in a Church setting but also in public places, including our universities?
Will religious schools maintain the freedom to teach and affirm the classical view of marriage?
Will our children in state schools have liberty to express, without bullying, a Christian view of marriage? Will parents have freedom to opt-out children from lessons that advocate views of marriage and sexuality that contravene their religious convictions?
It is worth noting that there are already matters of conscience that the State does not enforce upon all its citizens. For example, while abortion is legal, doctors who have a moral objection are not required to perform this action. The Voluntary Assisted Dying bill that is currently before the Victorian Parliament, will not require doctors to sign and participate, should euthanasia contradict their beliefs.
The issue of redefining marriage is a significant test for Australia, and whether we truly wish to embrace cultural pluralism and liberal democratic freedom. If sensible protections are not provided, we can expect an erosion of personal freedoms for persons not subscribing to the new morality. Indeed, if, upon changing the law, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience is lessened from what we had on November 15th 2017, we will have cut away part of this country’s foundations, which are responsible for the prosperity, security, and freedom we enjoy.
Thank you for your hard work in serving our Electorate and the people of Australia. I wish you well in pursuing the good for all Australians.