John Howard, ex-prime minister and malevolent architect of the current state of laws blocking marriage equality in Australia (which, it’s worth remembering, required only an act of parliament to pass – no pesky plebiscites involved!) has come out swinging today:
“I do think one thing that has to be addressed is the question of proper protection of religious freedom, and freedom of conscience in relation to people who might in a tangential way be affected by this.”
The reference to people “tangentially affected” by same-sex marriage suggests Howard was referring to people other than ministers of religion, who Labor and the Coalition both agree should not be forced to conduct gay weddings.
Paul Karp for the Guardian, 27 June 2016: John Howard calls for laws to protect those ‘tangentially affected’ by same-sex marriage
Cry me a river, John. Cry me a river.
Presumably John is terrified on behalf of all the bakers and function hall owners – not to mention churches and other religious functionaries who would be “tangentially affected” by marriage equality.
Tangentially. Oh, the humanity!
As opposed to all those people who for decades have been directly affected by marriage equality, or the lack thereof, foisted upon us by his nasty, vindictive and sanctimonious changing of the marriage act in 2004.
Howard of course maintains his objections to marriage equality. (Howard has always presumably at least believed in the inviolability of traditional marriages – to the point he enshrined this view into Australian law for everyone. Maybe while he was at it he should have prohibited divorces and made affairs an offence if he were really serious?)
But let’s come back to the central point – should people who conscientiously object to same-sex marriages be permitted to deny goods or services on religious grounds? And if they deny goods and services to same-sex couples, should they perhaps be able to deny them to divorcees attempting a second or third (and so on) marriage? Or people of different races? Or people of different faiths?
What world does John Howard think we’re living in? Oh, that’s right, the 1950s.
In the article above, Howard says people shouldn’t be bullied into silence by accusations of bigotry. Yet if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck – there’s a pretty good chance it’s a
Cry me a river, John. You’ve had your say and you’ve done your monumentally evil damage – it’s time to exit this debate.
And as for conscientious objections – if we’re going there, let’s allow everyone in the country who objects to their taxes being used to subsidise religious organisations whose officials are found to have abused children to conscientiously refuse to pay their taxes.
Conscientious my arse. It’s just a way of enshrining discrimination in law.