Monday, 27 November 2017

Why do we need amendments when laws are already in place?

The 15th November 2017 was a significant day in Australia's history as we announced the results of a question put to the people about same sex marriage. Below are the results:

An overwhelming victory for Yes which compels the politicians to change the law.

Since the announcement politicians have been debating the bill to change the law lodged the day after the above announcement.

Debate has centred around so-called protection for religious, conscience, speech and education rights.

This has mystified me because marriage in Australia is a civil ceremony not a religious one. The marriage law (old and new) has nothing to do with conscience, speech or education and certainly not religion.

About 70% of marriages here are conducted by civil celebrants. My wife is one. Even when religious people conduct a ceremony they must be an approved authority by the Attorney General's Department and say the legal words.

What's mystified me most however is that there already seems to be adequate protection for religious and indeed non-religious people.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly with resolution 2200A (XXI) on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976 in accordance with Article 49 of the covenant.

On the Australian Human Rights Commission website site I read the following:

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is recognised in Article 18 of the ICCPR.  

Article 18 protects not only the ‘traditional’ religious beliefs of the major religions, but also non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The right recognised in Article 18 is simultaneously an individual right, and a collective right.

Why debate?

Beats me.

The only conclusion I can make is that the no voters are still trying to get their way through the back door. It's disgraceful I think. You?

Be remarkable.
Ian
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