The consequences of redefining marriage impact more areas of life than we may initially imagine. One such area is something that pertains to all Australians, irrespective of where they stand on the marriage issue: freedom of speech.
A recent example of this came when publisher Connor Court Press was told by the commercial printer that it refused to print a book by Dr David Van Gend, entitled Stealing From A Child - the injustice of 'marriage equality. A media release from Australian Marriage Forum, for which Dr van Gend is president, said:
[T]he publisher, Connor Court, was notified by the printer, McPherson's, in writing:
“Due to the subject matter and content of your book, unfortunately I have been instructed by senior management not to proceed with printing this title.”
Never before has the publisher known a printer to refuse to print a book on political grounds.
Dr van Gend described himself as “shocked” by the incident:
“This was a shock, because you don't expect a printing firm to act as a political censor for the gay lobby,” Dr van Gend said … “We have used a temporary digital printer to cover the 3000 early orders and we will not run out. We do not question the right of a company to refuse to print our book on idealogical [sic] grounds but it does have a chilling effect on what should be an open public debate.”
As Michael Cook noted in an article from Mercatornet, these actions by the pro-same-sex marriage advocates are ironic, because they are resorting to actions they themselves decry:
[This] was act of sabotage number 3 for Van Gend.
Act of sabotage number 2 took place last week when Mercure International Hotel in Sydney cancelled the venue for a gathering of groups opposing same-sex 'marriage', after gay activists threatened hotel staff. According to The Weekend Australian the hotel received threats of physical harm. This was backed up by a coordinated social media campaign -- unlike the bomb threat.
Act of sabotage number 1 took place last year when a television advertisement around the time of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras banned at the last minute by the SBS network.
So, yes, some people in the community have become heated enough to threaten violence, impose financial intimidation and censor the free flow of ideas. But, by and large, it is not going to be supporters of traditional marriage. It will be the LGBT thought police. In fact, they have already started.
This is just one example of how pro-same-sex marriage advocates want special privileges for themselves, but not for those who disagree with them. As both Dr van Gend and Cory Bernardi argued, no one is denying that the printing company has a right to turn down business. Yet, as Bernardi states:
Van Gend said “…it is within their right as a private company to discriminate against people like me on ideological grounds …We are not like some people who would take anti-discrimination action. We do not think those sort of laws are worthy of a free society and we do not use them.”
Not everyone shares Dr van Gend’s views but in this instance he is right.
However, I cannot help but contrast the reaction if the boot was on the other foot, so to speak. If a printer refused to provide services to one of the sanctioned [social justice warrior] causes I can only imagine all hell would break loose. Complaints would be made, protests organised, owners named and shamed and legal action would be forthcoming.
We have seen bakers fined in America for refusing to support homosexual weddings and we have seen a Christian baker in South Australia targeted for protests merely for saying they don’t support redefining marriage. And yet, when commercial television networks or taxpayer-funded public broadcasters have refused to carry advertisements supporting traditional marriage there has been little comment. These display a similar conscientious refusal but completely different responses.
Redefining marriage has serious consequences that extend far beyond our societal understanding of marriage and the family – directly affecting our fundamental freedoms. An issue that threatens Australian citizens’ freedoms of speech, conscience, and expression cannot be left in the hands of politicians who operate according to their own agendas. The issue of marriage must be decided by the people.