PM: ‘Government Should Call A Referendum’

February 18, 2016

“On such a controversial issue” the Bermuda Government “should call a referendum in order to assess and reflect the prevailing community interest in Bermuda and determine what, if any, legislation should be passed,” the Preserve Marriage group said.

This latest statement from PM follows after extensive public dialogue on the issue of same sex marriage, and news that both the Opposition and Government plan to table legislation relating to the matter.

During the information session on civil unions, Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said, “The Matrimonial Causes Act will remain in place. There will be legislation tabled, such that Section 15 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [PDF] will continue to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, and there will be a carve out clause which will enable that segment to have supremacy with respect to the Human Rights Act.”

Audio extract of the Minister’s comments at the meeting:

Last Friday, OBA MP Sylvan Richards planned to bring a Private Members Bill entitled “Same-Sex Marriage Referendum Act 2016″ which was designed to pave the way to hold referendum on same sex marriage.

However the Bill was not laid, with Mr Richards saying that while it is his “personal belief that a referendum is the way forward,” he decided not lay the Bill after consultation with his Parliamentary colleagues.

A statement from Preserve Marriage said, “The Government’s proposal to introduce Civil Union Legislation is in conflict with how the European Court of Human Rights has said national governments should best interpret European Law.

“The voices of the Bermudian voting public should be taken into account before the Government makes changes to the law relating to marriage by implementing civil unions.

“This is particularly important considering the fact that, historically, civil unions have inevitably led to same-sex marriage within an average of six and a half years since the year 2000.

“As part of the Ministry of Home Affairs public forum last week, the Bermuda Government released a Fact Sheet promoting civil unions, giving readers the impression that “enacting Civil Union legislation will give effect to Bermuda’s international obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights [ECHR] as recently articulated in the case of Oliari vs Italy.”

“It is important for Bermudians to know what the Oliari case actually states regarding the obligation of the Government to assess the prevailing community interest as it relates to marriage and the ECHR.

90-minute video of the public information session on civil unions last week:

“Crucially, what the European Court did not say, and what it has never said, is that same-sex marriage and/or civil union legislation must be enacted in order for a state to be compliant with its human rights obligations.

“Hence, it did not place urgency on implementing civil unions, rather it placed an urgency of assessing the interests of the people which Italy did not do and the Bermuda Government is making the same mistake.

“In Oliari, the European Court of Human Rights accused the Italian Government of failing to obtain the “prevailing community interest” of its citizens in order to balance the majority public interest against what was asked in regard to same-sex benefits.

“In other words, the state [Italy in the case of Oliari] had a responsibility to properly assess the desires of the people and to use that information to enact legislation to enable it to comply with its human rights obligations on this issue.

“The European Court has recognized a referendum as an acceptable way to assess the community interest.

“It is ironic the Government of Bermuda has failed to assess the will of the people in exactly the same way as the Government of Italy, yet are using the same case to justify civil unions.

“On such a controversial issue the Bermuda Government should follow the decision handed down by the European Court of Human Rights upon which it relies: it should call a referendum in order to assess and reflect the prevailing community interest in Bermuda and determine what, if any, legislation should be passed for Bermuda’s context and in light of what the people of Bermuda want for their society.

” Public forums for such an important issue, even with an opportunity to submit comments, are insufficient in gauging the will of the people.

“A referendum is the most logical way a responsible government can determine the direction of legislation surrounding marriage in Bermuda. In Oliari, the European Court stated, “the Court observes that marriage has deep-rooted social and cultural connotations which may differ largely from one society to another.”

“This speaks to the drastic cultural change the redefinition of marriage brings to a society. Additionally, it also must be restated that civil unions have led to same-sex marriage within an average of six and a half years since the year 2000.

“It is Preserve Marriage’s position that Government should uphold the ideal for marriage because children suffer when one or more of their biological parents are not involved in the child’s life, as decades of social research has demonstrated. They have stated, how can society teach that fathers are essential, if we make laws to make fathers optional?

“They also added, that because civil unions tend to lead to same-sex marriage, let’s first discover what the people of Bermuda want for the definition of marriage and then make legislation that reflects the voice of the voting population, so that a few do not decide for the many.”

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  1. Onion says:

    Yes, children suffer under single parent households. THAT’S WHY WE WANT COUPLES TO BE ABLE TO GET MARRIED.

    Am I taking crazy pills?

    • David says:

      No, Onion. You’re just subscribing to reason and logic :)

      Two quick questions for Preserve Marriage:

      If that is your obsession (morality, marriage between a man and a woman for the benefit of children and society), why not rally to make it illegal for unwed couples/individuals to have children?

      It’s clear the negative effect that has on society. Surely, you would agree that having children under those circumstances on one of the most expensive countries on Earth is far more irresponsible and immoral than two men or two women loving each other, no?

      • Nightlilly says:

        Or make it illegal for married couples to NOT have children

      • Daylilly says:

        If equality is your obsession why not rally for the most fundamental human right; for children to have a mom & dad? Why not rally for all people to have the equal rights to freedom of religion, speech and beliefs?

        These are real rights that real children want and deserve, to legislatively say that a child’s rights to yearn for the protection of a father and the soft embrace of a mother is insignificant is quite sad.

        Read this statement by Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez

        “We all have a right to be born free, not bought, sold or manufactured.
        Nobody, gay or otherwise, has a right to deprive us of those rights. Nobody has a “right” to us. To believe that people can have a “right” to another person is to believe in slavery.
        When children’s rights are violated , human rights are violated, in perpetuity, because even as adults, human beings have been violated if they must contend with memories of being bought or sold for adult whims, uprooted from their heritage, denied the love of both sexes (and therefore all of what makes humanity human), or denied a legacy. The crime against humanity that occurs when an adult violates one of those basic children’s rights is a lasting intergenerational crime. It is a violence against the family tree to which another human being is entitled by the eternal life cycle that unites all of us.”
        Huffington Post online: End the Witch Hunt: In Defense of Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          You realize the author of the piece in the Huffington Post wasn’t actually supporting Dr. Lopez’s position on same sex marriages and adoptions, she was just standing up for a colleague on the other side of the argument from her, who she saw as being unfairly railroaded by false allegations made by a single individual. I mean did you actually read what that article was actually about…

          • Daylilly says:

            Sure, I know what the article is about. That makes my point even more relevant. Dr. Lopez was ostracized because of his view points.

            The point stands that Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez and numerous others say they were raised in loving SSC homes, but all the love in the world did not replace their right to a mom & a dad.

            His video is on the preserve marriage bermuda website under resources.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        If Preserve Marriage really believes the stance of the argument they are presenting, then by all reason they are advocating for:

        1. The law to say that it should be illegal for unmarried people to have children, as only married couples of different genders are capable of rasing children.

        2. The law to say any married couple of different genders should be banned from getting a divorce as soon as they are pregnant with their first child, or for a divorce they forfeit their child and it be legally given to a wedded couple of different genders to raise as their own; as only married couples of different genders are capable of rasing children.

        3. The law to say that any child that is born out of wedlock should be taken from the mother/couple as soon as it is born and legally given to a wedded couple of different genders to raise as their own; as only married couples of different genders are capable of rasing children.

        Frankly, their entire arguments hold no actual weight in reality as there is more than enough scientific and testimonial evidence to debunk their central stance that only stable different gender couples can provide the environment to raise a child successfully.

    • charity says:

      Children can also suffer in a two household family where the parents have an unhealthy relationship. So just because there are two parents in the home, if they are in an unhealthy relationship, the children can suffer also and unhealthy relationships come in many different forms. That’s why some women make the hard decision to leave their spouse if there is abuse, for the sake of the children.

      • Daylilly says:

        Charity, that is the obvious exception to the rule. No one is trying to legislate or promote dysfunctional households as the ideal. Laws promote ideal outcomes.

    • Longtail says:

      yes, you must be taking crazy pills.

    • SpinCycle says:

      How much is a crazy onion pill? I might need a prescription!

  2. Not Exactly says:

    Human Rights must not be subject to populism. Referenda is the worst way to “resolve” this issue.

    • Not Exactly says:

      Referenda *are

    • Funny says:

      @Not Exactly – SO true, but as usual folks are more interested in their chances at making a short-term political win than seeing themselves and their neighbors in the context of a larger effort to create a free and fair society.

      Unfortuantely our cuture of winner-take-all politics means that winning is the first goal of any debate. Reaching a logical conclusion, protecting the important gains we have made in human rights, or indeed just defending the rights of individuals is totally secondary and politically stupid.

      These people we are talking about are by the vast majority law abiding citizens, contributors to our community and in many cases famous and important people in Bermuda. Without them we are smaller, weaker and frankly, stupider. Even so the plan is to insult and shame these people? Deny them equal rights? Is that really who we want to be? I am guessing that is who we already are.

    • Daylilly says:

      If marriage was a human right why does it require a license at all. No other rights to be loved require a license. Marriage and same-gender relationships are not the same.

      Watch the video on what gay marriage did to Massachusetts.

      http://youtu.be/EZX55HUPFSU

      No one can claim ignorance.

  3. jim bob says:

    the OBA are not listening to the voice of the people. It appears that they are simply pushing ahead with their agenda when it comes to social issues like this one.

    • hmmm says:

      Of course they are listening to everyone. Don’t be such a prick !
      This is not an agenda of the OBA, it is as a result of Human rights worldwide and court decisions…absolutely nothing to do with the OBA.

      • Daylilly says:

        I disagree. Worldwide there are only 172 out of 193 countries in the entire world that have caved into the new “god” of sexual orientation and the new bible of the “inhuman rights code”.

        Don’t drink the “kool-aid”.

        The idiocy of it all, is that this is not new, we’ve been down the road of barbarism and anarchy. Just because you sign it off with educated dialogue and emotive language like love and equality doesn’t make it right.

        Our government let us down. The European Court told Italy the same thing our Chief Justice told Bermuda. Assess the margin of appreciation; get the people’s input, as in a referendum. Italy failed and Bermuda failed its people.

        Will the people now fail our children and future generations or will we hold ourselves and our government accountable.

    • Just the Tip says:

      Um this statement is misleading in the fact that it ignores the fact that due to a judge’s ruling the OBA has a dead line they have to meet or the courts will make the choice, which quite frankly i wouldn’t mind.

      • Daylilly says:

        The deadline applies to a specific immigration policy, not revamping all of the laws regarding marriage in a hurried and haphazard fashion.

        • Just the Tip says:

          True but as it was said at the meetings it makes no sense changing one law at time, it is smarter deal with all in one go. Although rushing this issue will lead to problems I’m sure

  4. hmmm says:

    Obama is good with Same Sex Marriage.

    The Govt proposed Civil Union, which affords the rights and privileges of marriage.

    I don’t like the idea of minority groups protection being decided by a vote of the majority. For obvious reasons.

    A vote that came out against it would show us to be an intolerant and selfish society on the world stage. Are we prepared for the ramifications of such a result.

    • Onion says:

      Civil Union doesn’t offer the rights of a marriage though. There are still serious inequalities in a number of areas.

    • Daylilly says:

      But Obama is not good with being fatherless. His mother and grandparents raised a president who is still angry that he didn’t have a father’s love.

      http://youtu.be/30n8fyUFn6E

  5. hmmm says:

    “This speaks to the drastic cultural change the redefinition of marriage brings to a society. Additionally, it also must be restated that civil unions have led to same-sex marriage within an average of six and a half years since the year 2000.”

    What utter nonsense !!!!!!

    Drastic cultural change….unless you are Gay or Lesbian IT WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR LIFE IS THE LEAST. Why can you not grasp this simple thing.

    There are Gay and Lesbian people actively in relationships on the island and have been for many many years. They won’t disappear because you prevent equality. They are gay or lesbian because God made them that way.

    • Nightlilly says:

      But if we fully accept them into society then the vulnerable amongst us might catch their homosexuality…

      because sexual orientation is like the flu, right?

    • Daylilly says:

      Where’s the proof on your statements. Don’t use the American Psychological Association, they gave disqualified themselves as an unbiased resource. Dr. Nicholas Andrew Cummings, past APA president says that after pressure ftom same-sex activists he wrote the bill declassifying certain sexual behaviors. It was done on the promise that research would be done to back it up.

      Since when does. “Science based professional organization” make up a diagnoses, sell it as science and then have no research whatsoever to back it up. Just fear of being labelled hateful.

  6. Starting Point says:

    “It is Preserve Marriage’s position that Government should uphold the ideal for marriage because children suffer when one or more of their biological parents are not involved in the child’s life, as decades of social research has demonstrated. ”

    so again what penalties do PM feel should be placed on single parents and divorced parents so that we can prevent the suffering currently existing for children in Bermuda. If this is PMs main reason for opposing same sex marriage then they MUST come out with a definitive statement against single parent households and put in suggestions (legislation) to curb this detrimental practice.

    also, can we have a referendum on the one religion Bermuda supports, once we have the opinion of the people of Bermuda we can reclaim the buildings of the other faiths to be used for more productive matters or to enhance Bermuda chosen (by popular vote) religious institution.

    • Daylilly says:

      Again, your view is about the adults. Society already acknowledges that divorce and single parenting are not ideal. No one is trying to enshrine those things into law as an ideal.

      The sad reality is that people are too ignorant to understand what the true outcome of all of this will be and too complacent to research the information for themselves.

  7. Lois Frederick says:

    A Referendum is no way to decided a question on peoples rights. Just as some SSM supporters are disappointed that they won’t get all that they want, the PM group will also have those that are will not want to accept that the way forward proposed by the govt. after wide consultation, is Civil Unions. The added clause to keep marriage defined as only between a man and a woman, is there for the PM group. Accept that the world is full of people that have their different ways of thinking and living. Tolerance and acceptance is needed.

    • Just the Tip says:

      Just clear something up, the Cause is already there, the government is planning to strenght it and make it supercede the human rights act

      • blankman says:

        And if they do make that clause supercede the Human Rights Act it demonstrates that the government can strip people of their rights on a whim.

        • Just the Tip says:

          I wouldn’t say a whim but it does seem like it would mean government could alter rights if pressured from differant groups

        • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

          Just because someone can do something, doesn’t mean that they will.

    • SANDGROWNAN says:

      Your logic is flawed. No one is asking the mental midgets in PM to change their, view, gay marry…or anything else for that matter.

      The people lacking tolerance and acceptance are the religious PM group.

    • Daylilly says:

      Marriage is not a human right. Show me where in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights it says that same sex relationships are equal to marriage or where is says that same sex couples have a human right to marriage.

      • Just the Tip says:

        as per http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/lgbt-rights/marriage-equality

        The right of adults to enter into consensual marriage is enshrined in international human rights standards.

        Article 16, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
        Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

        • Daylilly says:

          All people are equally allowed to marry within the confines of marriage, if you are referring to special rights to change the parameters of marriage to suit one group or to fit every group, then that is something for Betmuda to decide.

          If the biblical definition of marriage is irrelevant in Bermuda, why are we limiting marriage to two people. What about Muslims, polygamists, there is a definite and lasting historical argument for that.

          All laws discriminate based on how society benefits from its application.

          • Mike Hind says:

            All of this has been addressed many, many times, and shown, repeatedly, to be false.

            Yet you keep spreading this misinformation.

            Shame on you

  8. Devonshire Devils Advocate says:

    If marriage is an act sanctioned by God and the bible… Why are divorces settled in a court?!

    • mike says:

      Matthew 19:9

      And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

      • Funny says:

        So I’m good getting divorced as long as I do it to be sexually immoral.
        Hurray!

    • Daylilly says:

      Divorces are settled in court for the same reason marriages are licensed by the government. The government are the new official record keepers of vital statistics.

      The Bermuda government didn’t get involved with marriage records until 1866. The older records were held primarily by the church.

      Many people still go to their pastors for divorce and family counseling. Unfortunately, many people plan for the wedding but not the marriage. It is this cavalier attitude toward marriage & family that has led to both the divorce culture and all of the attacks on marriage.

      The attacks on marriage weren’t started by the SSM activists but their intentional dissolution of marriage values is certainly aimedto finish it off.

      Just hear the words of same-sex activist Masha Gessen .

  9. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    This is just not the issue that the Bible Thumpers want it to be….human rights are the question so just move along….

  10. 25/7 says:

    Imagine if they asked the slave owners to participate in a referendum to free the slaves. Little difference here.

    • Daylilly says:

      Which slaves, there have been many forms of slavery over the years involving many different types of people. If you go back far enough everyone has slave ancestry, including you.

      Slavery was about the right to own another human being as you would a pet or a cow. SSM is about people wanting special rights to redefine marriage for all of humanity. How can you equate owning a person to granting special privileges.

      Many types of slavery, but only one definition of marriage.

  11. hmmm says:

    It is time we removed the privileges the church have.

    Churches want to get involved in dictating governance, then churches can start paying taxes..

    Let’s have a referendum to have churches pay tax.

    Tax on church Tax on church tax on church.

  12. clearasmud says:

    Minister Pamplin-Gordon was on the radio yesterday saying that she accepted the ECHR ruling from 2010 that same sex marriage is not a human right but then she tries to justify the governments planned course of action as being forced by the Chief Justice’s ruling. If the government does not agree with the chief Justice why have they not appealed his ruling?
    Although the government is attempting to please everyone (which is always difficult) it is hard to believe that they don’t agree with same sex marriage if they don’t appeal the Court’s ruling!

  13. Social ills says:

    One of the biggest social ills Bermuda has is father’s not being present in their children’s lives. This means that the problem that preserve marriage is speaking about in regard to children needing both parents is already a HUGE problem here. So I guess I wonder why more isn’t being done in Bermuda to facilitate and encourage father’s to be present in their children’s lives. To me, this is a much more prevalent issue than same sex marriage and it’s effect on children. So I guess what I am saying is that I truly feel that if the church was putting the same effort into this already existing major issue here in Bermuda then maybe they would have more credibility when it comes to talking about the importance of children having both a mother and a father for a healthy society. But as in stands here in Bermuda not much is being done so it seems silly to use children needing both a mother and father as part of the argument against same sex marriage. Does this make sense?

    • Daylilly says:

      Most people participating in the solutions are too busy to stop and brag about it. Just because a problem exists is no reason to compile it and make it worse.

  14. SANDGROWNAN says:

    Tax the churches. Now.

  15. 21st Century says:

    Why are they worried about SSM? Maybe they should worry about why this worries them.

    • Daylilly says:

      Because people are well informed about how SSM has affected the UK, Canada, Spain, & the U.S., etc. Bermuda has the right to govern itself with its own ideals and values.

  16. O'Brien says:

    This is a hilariously wrong interpretation of what the ECHR held in Oliari. Here’s what it actually concluded (read real slow PM):

    “The Court finds that the Italian Government have…failed to fulfil their positive obligation to ensure that the applicants have available a specific legal framework providing for the recognition and protection of their same-sex unions.”

    • Daylilly says:

      Read on O’Brien the ECHR also reiterated in the 2010 & 2015 Oliari case that this needed to be done within a cultural context and with the consideration of the populace, as in a referendum.

      Recognizing is not legalizing, or else the entire European Convention which is about 52 countries/territories, etc. would have automatically had mandatory civil unions or same sex marriage.

      Why is it that countries are voting on something you say is mandatory?

  17. mike says:

    The thing about Preserve Marriage is that there is no room for compromise. Even though the government has proposed a change the marriage causes act to define marriage as a union between and man and a woman… and civil unions for same sex … this still is not good enough for PM. They don’t want to see any provision given for committed same sex couples that want the same protections as married couples.

    • Just the Tip says:

      Just to make a point but that cause already in play, the governmen want to strength it by stating that it will supercede the Human Rights act

    • Funny says:

      Astro-turf grows quick in Bermuda.

    • HW says:

      The gay community are not willing to compromise either.

    • Daylilly says:

      When the Bermuda Human Rights Act was amended Bermuda was sold the lie that it would have no effect on marriage. Now Bermuda is again being sold a lie that enacting civil unions will have no effect on marriage, particularly when the attorney general says that we are following precisely down the same path as in the UK.

      Why should Bermuda allow the government to set us up for a third and final blow.

      It is a proven and known fact, on both sides of the argument that civil unions are the prelude to SSM. PM represents the view of over 9,000 Bermudians who had an opportunity to sign the petition. Many seniors and others were unable due to lack of Internet, etc.

  18. Pravda says:

    A Referendum over what is a HUMAN RIGHT…. NO WAY

    The courts will decide, even if it goes all the way to the PRIVY COUNCIL.

    The churches are on the wrong side of history.

    • Bermuda First says:

      Trying to change marriage from purposefully being between a man and a woman is not a human right. Dismantling marriage via SSM and civil unions that lead to SSM harms children, couples, families and society as a whole. I would encourage those that aren’t sure about this to not confuse human rights with upholding the institution of marriage that is purposefully designed to enhance the lives of children, couples, families and society as a whole as a result. No amount of confusion, misinformation, etc. about marriage can change that :-)

  19. aceboy says:

    The PM is starting to look and smell alot like the PC (People’s Campaign).

  20. Bermuda First says:

    Don’t be fooled folks. Civil unions are a precursor to same sex marriage so yes of course it can’t be supported with preserving marriage as purposefully being between a man and a woman in mind and not to mention protecting our children, families, etc. as a byproduct of making marriage a free for all.

    As has been widely reported previously, of the VERY VERY small percentage of the world that has changed marriage to allow SSM (only 21 of 193 countries in the United Nations), civil unions were used to get SSM approved.

    Equality is of course important and i truly respect those interested in helping fellow Bermudians but equality should be addressed through appropriate laws that addresses equality issues appropriately vs. tearing marriage apart and into something it isn’t. I reiterate again, marriage is purposefully between a man and a woman so how can trying to make marriage into something it isn’t work? We need to uphold the things that enhance and support us not tear those things down.

  21. Cow Polly says:

    Given that hetro-sexual marriage is on the decline as most young people don’t see the point given that the majority are from broken homes anyway and the female population are earning enough money not to have enter into a union in order to procreate, don’t ya think PM should be promoting marriage for all otherwise the whole concept will be redundant in a few years. And good riddance because then the benefits will have change and we will all be equal again.

  22. Interested Party says:

    Civil Union is political cowardice on the OBA’s part … however, it is a step in the right direction. As PM keeps pointing out CU first then SSM not too much later.
    OK not exactly where it should be but at least some rights are recognized.
    This is a Human Rights issue and as such, a referendum is wrong IMO. Disagree if you want, I won’t listen anyway…

  23. jt says:

    Might as well throw immigration and weed on there too – save some money. Maybe the next budget as well, why not?

    • islandgal says:

      If mem can marry men & women can marry women, I don’t see why I can’t have a joint in the privacy of my own home. I’ll be fighting for this to happen soon.

      • jt says:

        I have no problem with legalizing weed. Also no problem with ssm marriage or the proposed immigration reforms. The point is, just get on with it. We’ll be having referendums on where to put park benches if some have their way

      • Just the Tip says:

        I agree and will happily join you in that fight

  24. Tom Cooke says:

    Seems like the PM has loads of cash, judging by there ads in the paper… let’s see them waste more of it to fight a ruling all the way to the privy concil. . They would lose.

  25. Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

    A referendum can not be held to decide the fate of a minority.
    It’s immoral.
    What the heck do people think would have happened if there had been a referendum on slavery?
    Or a referendum on women’s rights?

    Preserve marriage is clearly not about preserving marriage. They are about denying equality for all people.

    Fine, keep marriage between a man and a woman.
    But now you’re also against a civil union?
    The goal is to punish these people for what is, in your belief system, a sin?
    Is the next step to bring back stonings? Guess what. Adultery is a sin listed in the commandments. Stonings are the punishment demanded by the bible.
    How many of PM are prepared to throw those stones and cause people physical pain, people they probably are friends with, people that are family, maybe it’s even themselves because getting divorced and remarried is the same as adultery? How many of PM are prepared to draw blood and break bones? How many of PM are prepared to kill in the face of their beliefs?
    Don’t tell me it’s ‘different’, it’s just as cruel, it’s just as hateful.

    We look at the Middle East and the atrocities that are happening there. At the judgment and the cruelty and the use of religious beliefs in order to justify hateful actions.

    Don’t tell me it’s different. There you have the plant in full growth. Here we see the seedling being nurtured.

  26. serengeti says:

    Churches should be taxed, like any other business.

    • HW says:

      The people who benefit from their many feeding programs, their free counseling, their youth groups, their mentoring programs, their benevolent funds, their work in the co-ed facilities, their work at westgate, their work to help at risk youth, their programs to assist the unemployed or those who are sick or have recently lost loved ones, and many other people would disagree with your proposal.

  27. just wondering says:

    amazing suggestion – lets have a vote on whether minorities should have basic human rights – you only need to make the statement to show how stupid this suggestion really is – on that basis the South would never have been freed from slavery – women would never have been given the vote – shall I go on??

  28. Chen says:

    PM misstates the conclusion of the ECtHR Oliari v Italy. Nowhere does the ECtHR say that referendums are a preferred method for determining issues relating to the right to family life. A suggestion that the ECtHR did so is wrong, and can only have been made by someone who didn’t read the judgment or who is happy to spread misinformation about what the court actually said.

  29. One says:

    at pm get your social responsibilities in order before preaching to me I refer to incest, out of wedlock children, extra marital affairs, and divorce etc. these lot will do more for a stable relationship/family than you HYPOCRITES