Opinion: Church has no right to continue discrimination

Billy KerrSouth Western Times

While the same sex marriage debate begins to wind down and attention now turns to the formality of the legislative debate one can’t help wondering why we could not have got to this point sooner.

It has literally cost many millions of dollars, not only to run the actual survey, but also to fund the cost of very expensive media campaigns.

I don’t think anybody ever really believed that the result was going to be any different than the one we got and even former PM Tony Abbott, the spiritual head of the No campaign, capitulated within minutes of the result being announced.

In fact, he had virtually run up the white flag a few days earlier when his supporters started pushing for a new bill to go before parliament that gave what they saw as greater levels of protection to people who did not necessarily want to be compelled to either marry or show support for gay marriage.

It was and is an ill-conceived piece of legislation that was cobbled together and in reality is a stridently discriminatory piece of law-making that should never see the light of day. It was just a last-gasp attempt to salvage some redemption from a failed campaign.

The debate is now centred on the protections needed for the church and anybody who does not necessarily support same sex marriages.

The argument is that people’s rights to refuse to marry people of the same sex should be enshrined in legislation.

It’s hypocritical that the church now wants some legal protections when they themselves have practised discrimination for centuries.

I attempted to get married in the Catholic church even though my church form was not good with my mum having been told by the local priest that “Best you keep William home on Sundays Mrs Kerr”.

My banishment aside, the diocese in Perth refused to marry me in a Catholic church because my wife was not Catholic. If that is not discrimination then I don’t know what is.

This town and this country voted decisively to give same sex couples the right to marry and in doing that we have shown that despite all of our differences we can make the hard decisions that politicians should have made years ago.

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