A LEGAL OPINION ON THREATS TO LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE IF MARRIAGE IS REDEFINED
The following is a paper by Augusto Zimmermann LLB (Hon.), LLM, PhD (Mon.) that outlines how amending the Marriage Act would potentially harm liberty of conscience and freedom of religion in Australia.
Dr Zimmermann quotes the case of Church of the New Faith v Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax (Victoria), in which Mason ACJ and Brennan stated:
Freedom of religion, the paradigm freedom of conscience, is of the essence of a free society. The chief function in the law of a definition of religion is to mark out an area within which a person subject to the law is free to believe and to act in accordance with his belief without legal restraint. Such a definition affects the scope and operation of s. 116 of the Constitution and identifies the subject matters which other laws are presumed not to intend to affect. Religion is thus a concept of fundamental importance to the law.