British barrister Paul Diamond says there is no doubt that a change in the definition of marriage has resulted in significant consequences in his country towards those who hold more traditional viewpoints.
Will we have freedom of religion and same sex rights together?
“You do lose your job, you will suffer educational detriment, you will be vilified for doing no more than reading a Bible verse expressing traditional views,” he says.
“And it’s so abusive, in my experience, it’s a new barbarism.”
Mr Diamond is part of the legal team supporting the United Kingdom’s Christian Legal Centre. The centre is currently involved in a number of cases relating to same-sex marriage. One involves nurse Sarah Tshikuna-Mbuyi, who was dismissed from a London children’s nursery after saying that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Another focuses on Welsh guesthouse managers Jeff and Sue Green, who have been accused of discriminating against same-sex couples by operating a ‘married couples only’ policy for their double rooms.
“It’s perfectly possible to create a society of same-sex rights and privacy rights for homosexuals, and freedom of religion rights for Christians,” Mr Diamond believes, “in fact that would be a truly diverse and free society.”
“That is not the experience in the United Kingdom.”
Mr Diamond believes Australia is heading for the same difficulties, and he is extremely concerned that Australian politicians like Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull maintain it’s smooth sailing ahead.
“I don’t believe Mr Turnbull is that naive, I simply don’t,” he says. “Unless he’s convinced Australia’s the most unique Western country, there is a pattern already established.”
Mr Diamond is cautioning Australians voting on same-sex marriage to pay special attention to what has already transpired in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada.
“It may be that Australia will be the first country in the Western world to walk that impossible, difficult line between freedom of religion and privacy rights for same-sex couples,” he says.
“Maybe you’ll prove us all wrong and you’ll be the first country to do that – I doubt it.”
Supplied and authorised by Michael Kellahan, Freedom for Faith, Level 3, 13-15 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW.
About the Organisation: Freedom for Faith is a legal think tank that protects and promotes religious freedom in Australia and beyond.