Archbishop Davies complains free speech is denied in same-sex marriage debate

07 April 2017

ABACA/PA

Big parade: participants take part in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Oxford Street, Sydney, last month

Big parade: participants take part in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Oxford Street, Sydney, last month

THE campaign in Australia for same-sex marriage was sailing not on a “raft of rainbows but on a barge of bullies”, the Archbishop of Syd­ney, Dr Glenn Davies, has said.

In an article in a national news­paper, Dr Davies was responding to both recent criticism of some indi­viduals who are presumed to be opposed to same-sex marriage, and to the pro-same-sex marriage inter­ventions by several Australian com­panies.

Dr Davies argued that a stri­dent minority was trying “to swamp the public debate with its intro­spective, authoritarian denial of free speech”, which struck “at the heart of Australian democracy”.

The corporate world had been “press-ganged” into supporting same-sex marriage, he said.

“It is a regret­table state of affairs that ex­­ecutives of some of the large public companies have been too weak-kneed to resist the attacks of a stri­dent minority via social media plat­forms.”

The issue of same-sex marriage is currently not on the Australian gov­ernment agenda, after the defeat last November by the Senate, the upper house of the federal parliament, of legislation that would have led to a plebiscite on the subject (News, 16 September 2016).

Some Australian companies have written to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, urging him to allow the parliament to vote directly on the issue, which, opinion polls have suggested, has widespread sup­port in the Austra­lian popula­tion.

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