An Australian Greens candidate who falsely believes he is a woman is suing an archbishop for having the “wrong” opinions on homosexuals and homosexuals adopting children:
A complaint that the Catholic Church has offended and humiliated gay, lesbian and transgender Australians by distributing a booklet supporting traditional marriage is looming as a test case for freedom of speech and religion ahead of the national same-sex marriage plebiscite.
The Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteus, is preparing to fight the complaint to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commission on the grounds of religious freedom.
“I am prepared to vigorously defend any complaint against me that Tasmania’s Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner may proceed with,” Archbishop Porteus told The Australian yesterday.
“I am aware that there are some in society who would seek to silence the church on this issue and indeed prevent Christians expressing their beliefs in the public square on important social issues. Increasingly, they are trying to manipulate anti-discrimination legislation to achieve this end.”[….]
The commission is considering a complaint lodged this week by Hobart transgender activist and Greens’ candidate Martine Delaney that Archbishop Porteus and the Catholic Bishops Conference breached the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act by circulating a booklet to the parents of Catholic school students called “Don’t Mess with Marriage”.
Ms Delaney, who has changed from male to female and lives in a same-sex relationship with a woman, said she felt humiliated by the marriage booklet.
She said the booklet, which claims to advise all Australians of the church’s reasons for opposing same-sex marriage, paid lip service to respecting same-sex-attracted Australians, but actually sent out negative messages about them.
In a statement after lodging her complaint, Ms Delaney said her view was that the booklet said “same-sex partners don’t deserve equal recognition, same-sex-attracted people are not ‘whole’ people and the children of same-sex partners are not ‘healthy’.”
“By spreading this message, the church does immeasurable harm to the wellbeing of same-sex couples and their families across Tasmania and the nation — particularly those who are students, teachers or parents within the Catholic education system,” she said.
Ms Delaney said the booklet breached section 17 of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits offence and humiliation on the grounds of sexual orientation.
“The church has every right to freedom of speech and religion, but it must exercise these rights responsibly, and within the law, which in this case it hasn’t,” she said.
In the complaint, Ms Delaney also said the booklet described same-sex relationship as “friendships”, which was “a deeply damaging message” to send young people. She said she believed in freedom of religion “in its original sense of being free from coercion into a particular religious belief or practice”.
The commission has six weeks to decide whether the complaint raises a potential breach of the act and whether to investigate. Archbishop Porteus will not be formally told of the complaint unless it is investigated, but is preparing a defence of religious freedom.
He said the complaint “represents the rise of a new intolerance against Christianity in Australian society, and more generally a threat to freedom of speech.
“It is important that Australia has the opportunity for an open and free debate about the nature of marriage leading up to a plebiscite,” he said.