和我一样，5百万澳洲人在同婚公投中因为同样的原因选了NO：因为我们担忧随之而来对言论，良知和宗教基本自由的影响 - 这些自由是我们渴望在我们的民主国家里根据人权法被受维护的。
Five million Australians is the number of people who voted "no" in the postal survey for the same reasons I did – because we are concerned about the impact on basic freedoms of speech, conscience and religion – freedoms that we expect to be upheld in our democratic country in accordance with human rights conventions.
What has surprised me following the postal survey results is the "yes" campaign's sudden turnaround to effectively ignore the need to protect basic freedoms that would otherwise be lost.
Senator Dean Smith's bill provides protections only around a wedding ceremony and to religious clerics, but does not encompass protections for speech, religious beliefs more broadly, or to children being exposed to radical gender theory against a parent's wishes.
It is by no means a comprehensive bill and does not reflect the 90 per cent of Australians who believe that free speech and religious freedom should be protected with the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Senator James Paterson's bill, on the other hand, makes the effort to strike that balance. Fundamental tenets of the Liberal Party philosophy are the protection of speech, conscience, religious freedom and the family.
When we hear talk about the protection of freedoms in the face of a "yes" vote, we often hear either about clergy solemnising marriages, or about bakers and florists and photographers. The reality is that real and profound effects occur somewhere between these two extremes.
In 2014, same-sex marriage was legalised in Britain and protections for religious freedom were written into their laws. In 2015, Felix Ngole posted on Facebook that, according to his religious beliefs, he could not support same-sex marriage. He quoted several Bible passages in the comments under his post to support his view. At the time, Felix was studying a Masters degree in social work at Sheffield University. Because of this post, he was expelled from his university course on the grounds that the public expression of his views made him unfit to practise as a social worker.
Just over two weeks ago, Felix lost his High Court appeal to be allowed to complete his studies. In its judgment, the High Court acknowledged the importance of freedom of expression and that deeply held religious views deserve respect in a democratic and plural society, but nevertheless upheld Felix's expulsion as the posts could be "read by people who would perceive them as judgmental, incompatible with service ethos, or suggestive of discriminatory intent".
And even in Ireland, which legalised same-sex marriage only two years ago, there are already significant consequences. Just months after the Irish referendum, section 37.1 of their Employment Equality Act, which allowed a "religious, educational or medical institution under the direct control of a body established for religious purposes" to hire staff in a way that could "maintain the religious ethos of the institution", was repealed. Any promises in relation to the protection of freedoms are fleeting and can be wound back by a future, so-called "progressive" government.
Already, throughout the postal survey campaign, anyone I met who was lobbying for a "no" vote told me that they had encountered serious abuse, just as I have. Some had signs ripped from their hands. Others were yelled at, called names and spat on. This is particularly the case for "no" voters who are same-sex attracted who did not want to be called "self-haters" as well as "homophobic bigoted Nazis".
The "yes" campaign promised that, if same-sex marriage was to be legalised, there would be no consequential impact on free speech, religious freedom, freedom of conscience or parental rights, particularly when it comes to education. It promised no changes to prohibitions on commercial surrogacy or to the way gender is used in our language and laws. A push by "yes" campaigners for same-sex marriage legislation that does not enshrine protections that cover all of these aspects would be nothing short of dishonest.
作者Karina Okotel 是联邦自由党的副总裁
Karina Okotel is the federal Liberal vice-president.