Federation of Australian Buddhist Councils (FABC)’s Submission
The Buddhist position on gender quality and same sex marriage
In Buddhist traditions, there is no fixed or mandated form of marriage and from a Buddhist point of view there is no such thing as a single fixed, natural, or pre-ordained form of marriage.
Buddhist texts do not contain prohibitions on same-sex marriage. Nor do they contain anti-LGBTQ views.
Our principles are guided by wisdom and compassion, and our concern here is for the alleviating of suffering of marginalized people. The empirical evidence strongly supports the contention that ending the ban on same-sex marriage creates a positive outcome for LGBTQ people
The FABC position on the Bill
We welcome and support the Bill introducing Civil Marriage equality in Australia. We applaud the government for this Bill however we humbly ask for the deletion of S 47A of the Bill.
Ideally, no Marriage Celebrant under the Civil Marriage Act should be entitled to refuse to solemnise a marriage against a person’s sexual orientation. This would be legalised discrimination. However, we understand the need to protect religious freedoms and for that reason, we are agreeable to Religious Marriage Celebrants being legally entitled to refuse to solemnise a marriage based on the celebrant’s conscientious or religious beliefs. However, it is our view that this right should not extend to Civil Marriage celebrants.
In our view, Civil Marriage Celebrants should not be empowered by the law to discriminate against the LGBTIQ community. We believe that one of the purposes of the law is to protect and strengthen the whole community. Imagine how it would feel to be told that a civil service is being legally denied to you only on the basis of personal prejudice against you. That would be bring much unnecessary harm and is unacceptable from a Buddhist standpoint
For the reasons above, a deletion of Section 47A of the Bill is necessary.
Cecilia Mitra LLB hons (Singapore LLM (UWA)