Confirmed: flimsy free speech safeguards if marriage changed

Confirmation published in the media today that same-sex marriage laws would not provide safeguards for business owners who refuse to provide ­services to gay weddings unless they can prove a link to a religious body are concerning.

The whole way through this debate, the yes camp have said not to worry about freedom of speech because there will be protections but now we know that those protections would only exist if you go to church each week leaving no protection for conscientious objectors.

We’ve seen overseas that when the law has been changed to redefine marriage that there are consequences including effectively reversing the onus on anti-discrimination laws.

In the United States, there are now bakers and florists before the Supreme Court for daring to say no to providing business for gay weddings. In Australia, including in Tasmania, we’ve had a number of church leaders hauled before Anti-Discrimination Commissions for speaking about the biblical view on marriage.

In an Australian context, I have no doubt that if the law was changed we would see anti-discrimination laws, including state based laws, weaponised and used against those who support marriage as it currently stands.

Make no mistake, there are always consequences when laws are changed.

The only way to protect free speech is to vote no.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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