A “Yes” vote will see defenders of traditional marriage at mercy of the law

ATTEMPTS to squelch the “No” vote in the marriage postal plebiscite are gathering steam.

The latest ploy is unions pressuring Australia Post not to deliver “No” campaign material because its mere presence in their mailbag will traumatise posties.

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union’s letter to Australia Post warns of the “heightened risk” to the “welfare” of posties forced to deliver plebiscite material if it is against their beliefs.

Why would posties read our mail, anyway?

The same-sex “trauma toolkit” provided by ABC management to ensure staff are not “distressed” by the marriage debate is from the same spin cycle.

All this one-sided “concern for welfare” is to send the message that anyone on the “No” side is a villain out to cause distress.

What about a taxpayer-funded “trauma toolkit” for Christians, asks Lyle Shelton, head of the Australian Christian Lobby, whose staff have already had to contend with a car bombing.

Last week their Canberra office was hit with eggs, and they have to be careful opening their mail after LGBT activists on Facebook urged people to post “noxious substances” to the ACL.

There is no tactic that will not be employed against those valiant few campaigners trying to defend traditional marriage, by the better funded, better networked, more powerful same sex-marriage campaign.

Who knows where it came from, but a homophobic poster so cartoonishly villainous that it surely cannot be genuine is being brandished on social media as evidence of how hateful the “No” side is.

The mail union has warned of risk to workers forced to deliver campaign material against same-sex marriage if it’s against their beliefs. (Pic: Terry Pontikos)

No one in the Coalition for Marriage, headquarters of the “No” campaign, can believe it is real. Yet the Prime Minister yesterday was excoriated on FM radio for the “hateful” tone of the debate because of this poster of dubious origin.

All this hunting for hurt feelings clouds the real dangers if the postal survey does endorse change to the institution of marriage.

The government has not promised adequate protections for religious freedom and the consequences of their negligence are increasingly obvious.

This is the point that Tony Abbott has hammered, along with Liberal MPs such as Zed Seselja, Angus Taylor and Andrew Hastie.

Yet their own Attorney-General George Brandis has responded to their genuine concerns with the flippant insult that he won’t be “tricked” by Abbott into defending religious freedom.

Brandis, whose job it was to draw up a bill to defend freedom of belief and conscience, has sat at many meetings where he has been told in detail the consequences of changing the definition of marriage.

Shelton has told him redefining marriage is “the weaponising of state-based anti-discrimination law [which] will make 18C look like a boy scouts picnic”. But all Brandis had to say was that his interest was in federal law.

Brandis once professed to be a champion of freedom during the debate over 18C, and yet on this issue he washes his hands of the consequences.

Attorney-General George Brandis said he won’t be “tricked” into defending religious freedom. (Pic: AAP)

It’s already difficult enough in an atmosphere of stifling political correctness to express a negative view about the Safe Schools program, teaching gender and sexual fluidity to primary and secondary students. Such teaching will be mandatory if marriage is redefined, if the experience overseas is anything to go by.

Archbishop Julian Porteous in Tasmania has already been hauled before an anti-discrimination board for distributing a pamphlet to schools stating the church view that marriage was between a man and a woman.

He prevailed, but in Sweden, where gay marriage was introduced in 2009, the prime minister now wants to force priests to marry same-sex couples.

Evidence abounds of the chilling effect of redefining marriage on individuals, businesses, religious educational, or medical institutions.

In New Zealand, Christian lobby group Family First NZ has been told it will be deregistered as a charity because it promotes “a point of view about family life that does not… have a public ­benefit (including) that the union of a man and a woman through marriage is the fundamental social unit”.

In London, a private Jewish school faces closure after failing three ­inspections by state education authorities for not teaching girls aged three to 11, about LGBT issues such as sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

In Canada, law graduates from a Christian university, Trinity Western, were banned from being licensed as lawyers because the university had a rule forbidding sexual activity unless between a husband and a wife.

This was deemed to be LGBT discrimination.

In Ireland, after gay marriage was passed by referendum in 2015, parliament wasted no time repealing laws providing exemptions allowing ­“religious, educational or medical ­institutions… to maintain the ­religious ethos of the institution” when it came into conflict with gay rights.

In the UK, social work student Felix Ngole was kicked out of his course at Sheffield University last year after writing on Facebook that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In the US, 72-year-old florist Barronelle Stutzman faces financial ruin after being sued by the Washington state attorney for unlawful discrimination because she refused to provide flowers for a same-sex ceremony.

Wherever same-sex marriage has been legalised, defenders of traditional marriage find themselves ­beyond the pale and at the mercy of the law.

Bill Shorten keeps telling us this debate is only about whether two people who love each other can get married. That’s a transparent con.

Australians don’t trust our politicians enough to give them a blank cheque.

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