Law Society opposes any weakening of Anti-Discrimination Laws

There has been a call recently by the Australian Christian Lobby for the nation’s anti discrimination laws to be suspended to allow a “free debate” before the marriage equality plebiscite. Leaving aside the Law Society’s view that a plebiscite is unnecessary, any change to the anti discrimination laws is vigorously opposed by the Law Society of Tasmania.

This is a fundamental Rule of Law issue. That is, everyone should be treated equally by the law and equally protected by the law. To suggest that a proper debate can only occur if parties are free to participate in what would otherwise amount to discriminatory conduct is disingenuous.

The current anti discrimination laws exist to protect vulnerable people. That protection should not under any circumstances be weakened.

As it stands, people cannot use their religious beliefs as an excuse for discrimination that would otherwise be unlawful. There is no proper basis for permitting it to occur in political campaigns either. To do so will expose vulnerable people to vilification and damage.

The President of the Law Society, Matthew Verney said

“It is quite possible for people to argue the “no” case without resorting to conduct that would be unlawful and discriminatory. It simply requires them to be intelligent and respectful.”

 Mr Verney also has said

 “The Law Society remains of the view that marriage equality is a Rule of Law issue. All Australians should be treated equally by the law in Australia.”

“The raising of children is often cited as a basis for opposition to marriage equality. Arguments about parenting are irrelevant to marriage equality. To conflate the 2 issues underscores a significant misunderstanding of the state of marriage and parenting in this country, where on current trends, very soon more children will be born to unmarried parents than married ones. Parenting of children is wholly unrelated to marriage.”


Matthew Verney
0438 248 708
18 February 2016