Letters to the editor | November 24, 2017

Defining marriage

THE editorial in Friday’s Wimmera Mail-Times (Titled: Time to forge a new inclusion from the vote, Friday, November 17) seems to suggest that all those who voted ‘no’ in the recent marriage equality plebiscite are showing prejudice.

The editorial read: “There are still many who returned a ‘no’ vote, so that prejudice still exists...” 

I voted ‘no’ because I happen to believe marriage is uniquely between a man and a woman not because I want to be prejudicial to anybody. I imagine this would be the same reason for the vast majority of ‘no’ voters. 

The majority of people who bothered to vote have voted ‘yes’ and it seems the government of Australia will legislate to change the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples. We are a democratic country and I will accept that decision. 

However, I will not change my mind about what I believe regarding marriage and no amount of  ‘re-educating’ will persuade me. It is simply the belief that I uphold. It guides my life. After all, it’s been around for a while.

Therefore, I hope the Bill that becomes Law guarantees all those who voted ‘no’ can continue to maintain their personal and religious freedoms on this matter, “without prejudice, without judgment and without fear”, as your editorial has demanded for same-sex couples.

Robert Wood, Horsham

Challenging comment

I WISH to make comment on your recent editorial.

You wrote: “There were still many who returned a ‘no’ response in the postal vote, so that prejudice still exists and it’s clear we need to continue to work towards a more inclusive and equal Australia for all.” 

This needs to be challenged. You are inferring that all people who voted ‘no’ are prejudiced.

How a person voted is irrelevant – they had the choice to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and some people chose not to vote at all. We must respect an individual’s right to choose, even if we do not agree with them.

It is deeply concerning by your comments, that the ‘no’ voters have been dismissed and labelled as ‘prejudiced’.

It appears, the very people who are demanding ‘tolerance’ and ‘equal rights’ are the ones who are the most intolerant of other people’s views that do not agree with theirs. This should not be so.

I request that you issue an apology to the ‘no’ voters.

Christine Umbers, Horsham

Editor’s note: The Wimmera Mail-Times did not state that all ‘no’ voters are prejudiced. We remain of the view that the same-sex marriage survey and debate shows prejudice still exists.

Changes are pending

WE MUST ask our governments: “Why are concerned individuals and institutions having to argue for the inalienable right of dissent on any subject occasioned by the bill to legalise same-sex marriage?"

Bill Shorten MP and Richard di Natale MP are vigorously arguing against freedom of dissent, claiming falsely that dissent is discrimination.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has even delayed parliament for a week, because this question is so difficult. The very fact of an argument, shows that some politicians (Leftists in all parties), intend to use the bill for same-sex marriage to introduce creeping totalitarian power into our democracy.

There are four democratic freedoms that must be secured, which are not secured and are endangered by the Senator Dean Smith Bill – freedom of speech; freedom of the practice in daily life of religious faith; freedom of conscientious objection; and freedom of parents to choose what their children will be taught in regard to sex, gender and morality.

These four are matters of the sovereignty of individual conscience and the sovereignty of parents over their children’s well-being. We the citizens are in danger of the state usurping authority against these rights of free persons.

A look at the figures involved in the vote reveals that Australia is not over-whelmingly in favour of the marriage law alteration.

We are a nation of 24,719,600 people (Census 2016) and enrolled voters were 16,039,370. There are more eligible to enrol but are not enrolled.

Voters who said yes totalled 7,817,247 while voters who said no totalled 4,873,987. Enrolled non-voters totalled 3,348,136.

The figures show that 8,222,123 Australians either definitely oppose or are not interested in the issue of changing the law. These people make up more than half of all enrolled voters.

Is this fact relevant to the question of the four freedoms that Leftists are seeking to take away from the whole population of this democracy? Of course it is. 

Senator Smith’s Bill limits freedom to clergy and speech in a building for religious purposes.

No-one else and no other institution has legal right to the above freedoms by this bill. The implications of this are a legal nightmare for much more than half of Australia, given that millions of ‘yes’ voters also wanted these freedoms secured.

Change that disregards the Prime Ministers' avowed statement on the need to protect all our democratic freedoms in this Parliamentary exercise will be anti-Australian. There must be no 'crab-walk' in Canberra on this issue. 

It is shocking that certain Members of Parliament are callously seeking to strip away our freedoms. We can protect ourselves, especially our children, from 'wolves in sheeps' clothing' by contacting our representatives in Canberra on this matter, now.

Robert Worthington, Warracknabeal 

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