Aussie pastoral letter sparks discrimination complaint

A same-sex marriage campaigner has recommended Tasmanians offended by a pastoral letter from Australia’s Catholic bishops complain to authorities.

A pastoral letter from the bishops titled “Don’t mess with marriage” was sent home with students of Catholic high schools in several archdioceses, including Hobart.

It stressed both respect for all and respect for the unique nature of marriage as a union of man and a woman.

Rodney Croome, national director of Australian Marriage Equality, stated the booklet is illegal under Tasmanian law.

His group cited laws that bar offensive conduct, inciting hatred, and publishing notices that promote or express discrimination.

“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner,” Mr Croome said.

But Archbishop Julian Porteous of Hobart said: “A document defending the current law in our nation could hardly be called discrimination.”

“The Catholic Church in Tasmania is exercising its right to freedom of opinion, just as opponents to the Church’s views on marriage are also exercising their rights,” the archbishop said.

Mr Croome said the distribution of the pastoral letter to Catholic school students was “completely inappropriate”, and that the Catholic Church had enlisted young people “as the couriers of its prejudice”.

He said that the booklet harms homosexual students, and that he had received several complaints from Catholic school teachers about the booklet distribution.

Archbishop Porteous said many parishioners and Catholic parents have spoken positively about the pastoral letter.

He added that the pastoral letter respects diversity and “does not advocate hatred or vilification of people with a same sex attraction”.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,