February 24th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Weatherill demand places Murray-Darling in jeopardy

EDITORIAL China completes island building in South China Sea

CANBERRA OBSERVED Greens: wouldn't know a cowardly act if they did one

REDEFINITION OF MARRIAGE Government forms say it is fluid gender marriage

FREEDOM AND LAW Gender and anti-discrimination: wedges between you and freedom

HISTORY A look back at B.A. Santamaria gives us a forward impulse

GENDER POLITICS Transgenderism: A state-sponsored religion

LAW AND SOCIETY Protecting freedom of religion in Australia

HISTORY Hungary, 62 years on from the anti-Soviet uprising

MUSIC Reel to real: Johann Johannsson, RIP

CINEMA Sweet Country: Sour taste of bush justice

HUMOUR

BOOK REVIEW Lessons from the UK front of the GFC

BOOK REVIEW The dragon has woken and rumbled

BOOK REVIEW Recovery manual for morals and culture

LETTERS

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FREEDOM AND LAW
Gender and anti-discrimination: wedges between you and freedom


by Terri M. Kelleher

News Weekly, February 24, 2018

Many Australian voters who voted “Yes” in the marriage postal ballot did so in the belief that religious freedoms would be protected. An August, 2017, Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian newspaper asked “if Parliament should provide legal guarantees for freedom of conscience, belief and religion if same sex-marriage were legislated?” Sixty-two per cent of those polled agreed and only 18 per cent disagreed.

During the postal ballot there was much debate about how religious freedoms would be affected by redefining marriage. Before the bill to amend the Marriage Act was debated, Malcolm Turnbull set up an Expert Panel, to be headed by former federal Minister Philip Ruddock, to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to religious freedom, saying that many of the proposals to protect freedom of religion went beyond the immediate issue of marriage.

The view was that the amendments to the Marriage Act should be dealt with immediately and the consideration of whether there is a need for further amendments to the law to protect religious freedoms would be dealt with afterwards.

In the event, when Parliament debated the bill, even the most basic religious protection amendments were defeated.

The redefinition of marriage has taken place in a context of a growing lack of social or moral consensus in the Western world (including Australia) as to what ideas should underpin our society and its institutions, including marriage, family, the education and health systems, and laws. This turmoil has thrown up new ideologies or worldviews, one of which is transgenderism: the idea that gender can be different to one’s biological sex, that gender is how one feels, that gender is fluid and can change, and that one can change one’s gender to the gender one “identifies” as, whether by medical or surgical means or not.

The consequences of the redefinition in law of marriage as the union of any two people regardless of sex or gender extend well beyond marriage to a redefinition of human sexual identity itself. Biological sex as the determinant in law of a person’s sexual identity is being replaced with a subjective, self-defined, socially constructed “gender identity”.

The other driver of this redefinition of sexual identity has been the writing into anti-discrimination laws of “gender identity” as a protected attribute.

The Australian Family Association (AFA) submitted to the Inquiry into the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Billin 2013that repealing the definition of “man” and “woman” did not merely extend protection from discrimination to new grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity. It amounted to rewriting language and deleting words that have real and profound and biological (scientific) meaning and replacing them with words that have either no definite meaning or whose meaning has been changed.

The replacement of “different sex” for “opposite sex” also changed the meaning of things by use of language. “Opposite” means there are two; “different” means there are more than two. This was changing recognition in law of the biological reality of two sexes and substituting the idea that there are more sexes than male and female.

Transgenderism is an ideology or worldview that is the opposite to the worldview shared by all the world’s major religions and traditional cultures that human sexual identity is determined by the biological reality that there are two sexes, male and female.

The transgender worldview is protected under anti-discrimination laws and in the redefinition of marriage. Those who adhere to the biological worldview surely have a right to equal protection so that they do not suffer discrimination because of their worldview, especially as the transgender worldview is being imposed on those who don’t share it by deep inroads into culture and daily life.

Just a few examples:

  • Being compelled to use gender-neutral language (for example, “partner” in place of “husband” or “wife”) or “correct” pronouns (such as hir, ze, they) in the workplace or business.
  • Being forced to accept males who identify as females using women’s public toilets, change rooms and showers, and being placed in female prisons.
  • Parents being forced to accept their children being taught about different forms of sexuality in government schools in conflict with their own deep convictions about sexual identity and sexual expression. Columnist Melissa Kang wrote in a piece for The Conversation: “The marriage-equality bill has passed, and the mandate to deliver inclusive sexuality education in schools is more pressing than ever. LGBTQI+-inclusive sexuality education should embrace diversity in the classroom, the staffroom and in the whole-of-school policies.”

Australians who believe that marriage can be the union of any two people regardless of gender and/or that gender is fluid and can be different to biological sex are protected by the redefinition of marriage and the protection of “gender identity” in anti-discrimination laws. Australians who have deeply held and genuine beliefs about marriage being between a man and a woman and that human sexual identity is binary, biological, male and female, whether religious beliefs or not, should equally be protected from discrimination.

This is not allowing discrimination but rather protecting Australians with a traditional and biological, binary view of marriage and human sexual identity from discrimination – as justice and democracy require.




























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