Former Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton has labelled the Ruddock review panel “naive” for finding that marriage equality has not affected religious freedoms.
Fairfax Media obtained a leaked copy of the religious freedom review’s findings, reporting overnight that the review recommends religious schools’ ability to discriminate against LGBTI staff and students be enshrined in law.
“The panel received limited evidence that the fears of religious groups expressed during [the same-sex marriage] debate had come to pass in Australia, although it was also noted that the change had only recently been introduced,” the report reads.
“There was, among many groups, a desire to ‘move on’ from the more divisive aspects of the debate on marriage and to ‘live and let live’.”
The review found that there had been “no identifiable increase in complaints or inquiries” following the passage of marriage equality, with a “minority” of complaints about religious issues having concerned the same-sex marriage debate.
“Only a small minority of submissions provided personal examples. With a few notable exceptions, this was also the experience in the consultations.”
The review said that the provisions in same-sex marriage legislation included to protect religious freedoms “operating effectively.”
Shelton, now a candidate for Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives Party, said that the report’s conclusions were “naive”, and that it’s completion in May indicates it is “way too soon to be making such unequivocal statements”.
“With respect to the panel, I think that’s fairly meaningless just months after such a big change,” he said.
Shelton is also an avowed climate change denialist making this a comfortable position for him to be in.
“The panel obviously hasn’t been watching the news. This pressure that people are coming under as a result of the change is very, very real.”
Shelton has spent recent months campaigning against the bogeyman of mandatory “radical LGBTIQ sex & gender education” in schools and decrying a Telstra ad which features same-sex parents, tweeting, “Where’s his mum? Is intentionally making children motherless now okay?”
Scott Morrison said the review’s report has yet to be considered by cabinet and that the government is still formulating its response.