One of the leading Catholic thinkers in Australia has said that holding a non-legally binding vote by the people of Australia on same-sex marriage is a waste of time.
Father Frank Brennan, who is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University, made these comments in an article for the Eureka Street journal of the Jesuit order in Australia.
His article reads: “A plebiscite on this issue is a waste of time and risks turning very nasty, especially now that both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition support same sex marriage.”
Brennan then went on to say that those that are pushing for a plebiscite, aren’t genuine in their wish to have the same-sex marriage issue decided by the Australian people.
“The plebiscite advocates were opponents of same-sex marriage who thought it would give them more airplay back in the days when [ex-prime minister Tony Abbott] was a strong opponent of same sex marriage. With [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull and [Opposition leader] Bill Shorten on the same page, the opponents will get little airplay.”
He then made some rather interesting claims that religious opponents are the ones that need to worry about the debate on the issue if a plebiscite is not held in the LGBTQ+ community; suggesting that they would be demonised by a “yes” campaign.
Former president of the New South Wales state Anti-Discrimination Board Chris Puplick has previously said on this topic: “When a person or group of people is described in official publications as being seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids, they are entitled to take offense, and to the extent they feel they have been vilified and subjected to hate speech they should of course seek to avail themselves of the protection against such calumnies as have been provided for by the various legislatures around Australia. It is simply wrong to say that such proceedings are an attempt to deny the Catholic Church the right to ventilate its views about traditional marriage.”
Brennan himself said: “I too would be very upset if my bishops were saying that homosexuals are ‘seriously depraved, intrinsically disordered, less than whole and messing with kids.’ But they’re not. Think only of Pope Francis’ remark during the press conference on the plane on the way back from World Youth Day: ‘If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?’
“Gone are the days of rainbow sashes outside cathedrals and threats of communion bans. The fact that Puplick can seriously caricature episcopal utterances in this way shows what a contested and emotive space we are in.”
He then moves on from this topic, admitting that no matter the tone of the debate or how it goes forward, marriage equality will be in Australia soon.
“Given developments in countries like Ireland, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and the USA, I have accepted the inevitability that civil marriage in Australia will ultimately be redefined to include committed same sex relationships. Given the increasing number of children being brought up by same sex couples, it is desirable that the state take away any social stigma against same sex parents.”
“Given the aging population, the state has an interest in recognizing and protecting long term relationships of same sex couples who care for each other. Given the harmful effects of homophobia, the state has an interest in encouraging broad community acceptance of those members who are homosexual. Laws and policies can help in this regard.”
“It is one thing for Commonwealth law to recognize same sex unions as marriages. It is another thing to require all persons, regardless of their religious beliefs, to treat same-sex couples even in the life and activities of a church as if they were married in the eyes of their church.”