LGBT activist Martine Delaney is dropping a discrimination complaint launched against the Catholic bishops of Australia over a booklet outlining the importance of marriage and family.
The booklet, Messing with Marriage, explains not only the Catholic view of marriage and the importance of mothers and fathers, but also highlights the dignity and worth of every individual and the Church’s deep opposition to all forms of unjust discrimination. In light of a possible plebiscite later this year, however, the bishops also do not shy away from warning about the consequences of redefining marriage.
“[I]f the civil definition of marriage were changed to include ‘same-sex marriage’ then our law and culture would teach that marriage is merely about emotional union of any two (or more?) people,” the booklet reads. “Husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, will be seen to be wholly interchangeable social constructs as gender would no longer matter. …Redefining marriage has consequences for everyone.”
Delaney, who self-identifies as female after undergoing male-to-female gender reassignment, initially demanded that the Church modify the booklet’s contents, oddly comparing the pastoral letter to a corporate advertising campaign that Delaney expected to be modified solely based on one complaint. But Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous, while fully participating in the conciliation process, stood by the Catholic Church’s freedom of religion and speech.
Both Delaney and the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission withdrew the so-called discrimination complaint after it was deemed to have little merit, though Porteous expressed disappointment that the case wasn’t seen through for free speech to be fully vindicated. “This decision by the Commissioner raises a number of issues which remained unanswered, in particular the ability of the Church to freely express its view on marriage,” Porteous wrote in a statement.
Lyle Shelton, Chief of Staff of the Australian Christian Lobby, believes the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission picking up the case to begin with sets a dangerous precedent for the future: “This was an example of where State-based human rights commissions are often being weaponised by activists against those with different views.”