The High Court, Democracy, and Same Sex Marriage

It is becoming clear that the issues surrounding same sex marriage are more important and more complex than its proponents have suggested. There is a serious question about protecting the right to speak out against it; and although this freedom has already been put at risk for religious opponents, there are also secular opponents who expect to be able to canvass arguments without being charged with unacceptable “discrimination.”

Australia’s High Court has made a mistake of constitutional stature that demands a remedy. As things now stand, the High Court has used its position to radically dismantle a definition of marriage of long standing in the common law. There is constitutional similarity with that of the United States in the absence of democratic process in the overturning of an understanding of the meaning of marriage by the people of both countries. A profound constitutional change has been wrought legally, but undemocratically.

Only a referendum, with its constitutional legitimacy and authority, and an opportunity for well-informed and sober reflection, can deliver the fair method, and a solution, befitting a federal democracy.

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