Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Celebrate or else

By Mark Christensen - posted Wednesday, 10 January 2018

I got an email from our Prime Minister before Christmas advising same-sex marriage had become "law of the land".

So, it's all done. Love prevailed. "This is for all Australians," he said.

Well, no, it isn't.


First, this is an example of majoritarian democracy, not solidarity. I voted No, along with a few others. And while I can acknowledge the process and the need for compromise, this doesn't miraculously change my views or make the decision for everyone.

Accepting Cristiano Ronaldo just beat Lionel Messi for the 2017 Ballon d'Or, is a very different proposition to agreeing he is the best footballer in the world.

Second, changing the law is not the end of this – it's the beginning.

The US Supreme Court recently heard arguments against Jack Phillips, following his refusal to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered him to go against his religious beliefs or stop baking wedding cakes. It also instructed Phillips to re-educate his employees on the requirements of anti-discrimination laws and report back on progress.

As The New York Times columnist David Brooks pointsout, the aggrieved couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, had two options here.

Under the neighbourly approach, they might say: "Fine, we won't compel you to do something you believe violates your sacred principles. But we would like to invite you into our home for dinner and bake with you, so you can see our martial love, and so we can understand your values. You still may not agree with us, after all this, but at least we'll understand each other better and we can live more fully in our community."


This is modern America, laments Brooks, and "so of course Craig and Mullins took the legal route."

Australia is edging in the same wrong direction, something mooted "religious protections" will only hasten. This already confused political moment doesn't need more complicating laws.

"Legal conflict is a clumsy tool to manage the holy messiness of actual pluralistic community," writes Brooks.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

21 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Mark is a social and political commentator, with a background in economics. He also has an abiding interest in philosophy and theology, and is trying to write a book on the nature of reality. He blogs here.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Mark Christensen

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 21 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy