TASMANIA (ChurchMilitant.com) - All Australian bishops have been called into court to answer for alleged discrimination against gay "marriage."
This past summer, "Don't Mess With Marriage," a booklet defending traditional marriage, was distributed by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (ACBC) to 12,000 Catholic families in Tasmania by the order of Abp. Julian Porteous.
In September, Australia's first "transgender person" to run for federal office, Martine Delaney, publicly decried the bishops' booklet as a source of "immeasurable harm to children." Delaney filed a complaint with the office of the anti-discrimination commissioner demanding that the ACBC and Abp. Julian Porteous be investigated for discrimination.
Yesterday, the commissioner announced that the case had been accepted. Archbishop Porteous has released a statement confirming that the diocese of Hobart received a notification from the commissioner and that the ACBC has 21 days to respond to the findings of the Commission.
"I regret if offense has been taken by individuals, and will work with the Commission to resolve this matter," His Excellency stated. "[T]he intention was to inform [and] to ensure the Catholic community understood where we stand on the issue of marriage."
The controversy has caused the legal rights division of the Institute of Public Affairs to speak out against the commissioner's investigation.
"If the Catholic Church cannot distribute a booklet on Catholic teaching to Catholics, who can it distribute them to?" said Legal Rights Project director Simon Breheny. "This case highlights the attack on free speech represented by anti-discrimination law. It should never be a crime to offend a person."
Some are calling the commissioner's investigation an attack on free speech and religious liberty. Given that the controversy comes ahead of next year's plebiscite when Australians will vote on same-sex marriage, some are wondering whether Delaney's complaint is motivated by political propaganda rather than by a stand for human rights.
A petition is being circulated in support of Abp. Julian Porteous.
To learn more about the employment of LGBT "rights" to promote political agendas, watch ChurchMilitant.com's "Faith-Based Investigation—Homosexuality."