Anti same-sex marriage booklet to stay


Free speech advocates are hailing as a victory a collapsed anti-discrimination case against the Catholic church for its booklet opposing same-sex marriage.

Hobart rights activist Martine Delaney withdrew a formal complaint about the publication - Don't Mess With Marriage - after she said conciliation facilitated by Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner had failed.

Her action against the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Hobart's Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous, claimed the booklet marginalised lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Australians in an offensive and insulting way by spreading a message that messing with marriage equates to "messing with kids".

"Quite often when a company gets an advertising campaign wrong they will withdraw it, but not in this instance," Ms Delaney said, citing a refusal on the church's part to modify the booklet's contents.

"The church is quite happy to make these statements and the church is quite happy to accept the collateral damage from making some quite ugly statements about same-sex marriage," Ms Delaney said.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the commissioner should never have accepted the case.

"What Archbishop Porteous did was completely reasonable and he should have the right to express a point of view on marriage," lobby boss Lyle Shelton said.

The Bishops Conference said the church had entered conciliation in good faith, but wanted to maintain its viewpoint.

"In order to have a flourishing democratic society, it is fundamental that all citizens have the freedom to express different convictions according to their judgments, beliefs or faith in a way that respects the dignity of all persons."