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Gay students at risk from denigration.
Educators who allow distribution violate duty of care.

Advocates have warned Tasmanian Catholic school principals and teachers that distribution of a booklet against marriage equality is likely to breach the Anti-Discrimination Act and have urged teachers and parents concerned about the booklet to make complaints to Commissioner, Robin Banks.

Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, has said Catholic 12,000 Tasmanian Catholic school children will be given copies of the booklet called “Don’t Mess with Marriage” to give to their parents.

Australian Marriage Equality national director, Rodney Croome, said,

“This booklet denigrates and demeans same-sex relationships and will do immense harm to gay students and students being raised by same-sex couples.”

“The booklet likely breaches the Anti-Discrimination Act and I urge everyone who finds it offensive and inappropriate, including teachers, parents and students, to complain to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Robin Banks.”

Mr Croome said he has received several complaints from teachers in Catholic schools who were horrified to learn at staff room meetings that the booklet will be distributed.

“The Catholic Church has every right to express its views from the pulpit but it is completely inappropriate to enlist young people as the couriers of its prejudice.”

“The booklet says to gay students in Catholic schools that their sexuality is wrong and that their aspiration to marry is a danger to marriage, religion and society.”

“Any principal or teacher who exposes vulnerable children to such damaging messages not only violates their duty of care, but is a danger to students.”

Mr Croome has written to the Catholic Education Office expressing his concerns.

Find below some of the claims made in the booklet “Don’t Mess with Marriage”, as well as the three sections of the Anti-Discrimination Act the booklet is likely to breach.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668.

Author: Rodney Croome
Publication: AME Media Release
Date: 24 June 2015

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RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 17

Division 2 – Prohibited conduct 17. Prohibition of certain conduct and sexual harassment

(1) A person must not engage in any conduct which offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules another person on the basis of an attribute referred to in section 16.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 19

19. Inciting hatred

A person, by a public act, must not incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or a group of persons on the ground of –

(c) the sexual orientation or lawful sexual activity of the person or any member of the group; or

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT 1998 – SECT 20

20. Promoting discrimination and prohibited conduct

(1) A person must not publish or display, or cause or permit to be published or displayed, any sign, notice or advertising matter that promotes, expresses or depicts discrimination or prohibited conduct.

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POINTS MADE IN THE BOOKLET

Same-sex marriages will
– destablize marriage p4
– attack the very soul of marriage p3
– be gravely unjust to children p 11
– violate religious freedom p11ame-sex relationships are
– friendships p7
– to be lived chastely p3
– a very different kind of union to heterosexual unions which make the partners whole p7

Marriage is
– a fundamental good, a foundation of human existence and flourishing p8
– a way to join families to each other p8

The dignity of children
– means affirming his or her need and natural right to a mother and a father p11
– messing with marriage therefore is also messing with kids p11

By implication same-sex partners are not only excluded from the fundamental goods associated with marriage, including child rearing, but are a threat to them.

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