Scott Morrison claims he now backs same-sex marriage – but dodges question on hell: Australia

Politics Australasia

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Scott Morrison has claimed he now supports same-sex marriage because it has allowed people to “get on with their lives” and he “always supports the law of the country”.

Morrison made the claim at a press conference in Perth, brushing off questions about whether his personal views have changed since his vocal opposition to marriage equality during the marriage law postal survey in 2017.

Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian who attends the Horizons church, said he doesn’t “mix [his] religion with politics” and evaded a question about whether gay people go to hell, an apparent reference to the controversy surrounding rugby player Israel Folau.

In 2016 Morrison claimed that opponents of marriage equality also face “hate speech and bigotry”, equating their experience to that of LGBTI Australians.

Despite his electorate of Cook voting 55% to 45% in favour of same-sex marriage, Morrison mounted a conservative rearguard action calling for greater protection of “religious freedom” in the marriage bill then abstained from the vote in parliament.

Asked on Monday if he still opposes same-sex marriage, Morrison replied: “It’s law and I am glad that the change has now been made and we and people can get on with their lives, that’s what I am happy about. I always support the law of the country.”

Morrison was asked if he believes gay people go to hell, and reiterated support for the law allowing two people regardless of sex to marry.

“It’s always been something that has informed how I live my life and seek to care for and support others. That’s what I seek to do … You know, none of us are perfect, none of us are saints in that respect.
“We try and do what’s right and we try and do what’s best and that’s what always sought to guide me in terms of my own personal faith.”

Labor seized on the answer, noting that Morrison had “[refused] to say that LGBTI Australians don’t go to hell”.
In April 2018 Morrison, then treasurer, applauded Folau’s “strong character” when he made comments that unrepentant gay people would go to hell.

But after Folau’s most recent social media outburst that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters”, Morrison said the comments were “terribly insensitive”.
At the third leaders’ debate on Wednesday Morrison and the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, were asked about Folau and the issue of religious freedom.

Morrison described free speech and religious freedom as “fundamental freedoms” and promised his government would introduce a Religious Discrimination Act to protect religion in the same way as sexuality, gender and other protected attributes.

Morrison said that he admired people of faith, but warned that public figures have a “special responsibility” to act “with civility and with due care and consideration to others”.

Shorten also hedged his bets by saying he was “uneasy” about the prospect of Folau suffering an employment penalty for expressing his beliefs but warned the words had a negative impact on others.

“I don’t think if you’re gay you’re going to go to hell. I don’t know if hell exists actually. But I don’t think, if it does, that being gay is what sends you there.”



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Luis Bonnapart
2 weeks ago


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