Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to Investigate Catholic Church's Marriage Pamphlet

Country: Other

Date of incident: November 12, 2015

Transgender politician, Martine Delaney, lodged an anti-discrimination complaint in September and on November 12, the commissioner announced it will begin investigation.

From the Archdiocese of Hobart's website: "The complaint concerns the distribution of a statement by the Australian Catholic Bishops, ‘Don’t Mess with Marriage’ to all Catholic schools in Tasmania. The Australian Bishops as author of the booklet has also been named as a respondent. “In distributing the Pastoral Letter, ‘Don’t Mess With Marriage’, my aim was to assist the Catholic community in understanding the teaching of the Catholic Church, at a time when debate on this matter was widespread within the community,” Archbishop Porteous said. “The intention was to inform the debate as leader of the Catholic Church in Tasmania, to ensure the Catholic community understood where we stand on the issue of marriage. “It was not my intention to offend, rather, it was and is, to express the teaching of the Catholic Church. I regret if offence has been taken by individuals, and will work with the Commission to resolve this matter,” said Archbishop Porteous. Archbishop Porteous and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have been given 21 days to respond to the finding of the Commission." According to ABC Australia:
"...[E]arlier this year the Archbishop defended the booklet, saying the Catholic Church in Tasmania was exercising its right to freedom of opinion. In her complaint, Ms Delaney argues that some freedoms are not absolute, and that in a secular society religious freedom must sometimes give way to the law.  Ms Delaney wants the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to publically apologise for distributing the booklet.

She also wants the Catholic Church in Tasmania to implement a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex awareness program for all staff and students within the Catholic Education system."