I didn’t threaten staff over gay marriage: Hart

Archbishop Denis Hart at 3AW yesterday (YouTube/3AW)

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart yesterday offered clarity on the Church’s position on same-sex marriage, and what it would mean for Church employees if same-sex marriage laws were passed in Australia, Melbourne Catholic reports.

Earlier this month, Fairfax Media reported that staff working for the Church – including doctors, nurses, teachers – entering into a same-sex marriage would be at risk of losing their jobs. But in an interview on Melbourne radio station 3AW, Archbishop Hart said the comments which had drawn the most attention weren’t in fact spoken at all. "I said, 'that’s best dealt with at a local level'," he said. "I said nothing whatever about sackings."

When asked if he would be comfortable with nurses and doctors in a Catholic hospital who were in a gay marriage, Archbishop Hart replied, "I’ve got no difficulty about that." Schools were a similar matter. He said if gay marriage were legalised and a teacher entered into a marriage with a same-sex partner, there would be no question whether their position as a teacher was at risk. "We’re not entering into their private lives," Archbishop Hart said, adding that his concern was whether they were willing to teach Catholic teaching in schools.

"The Church, like many other organisations, has certain expectations of staff which have to be fulfilled … we exist to teach certain things and the people in our employ need to be able to do that."

Meanwhile The Australian reports the Coalition for Marriage yesterday launched its national television advertising campaign, encouraging parents to vote against same-sex marriage, warning that they could lose control of gender programs taught to schoolchildren.

The advertisement — backed by the key organisation behind the No campaign — is the first in a series aimed at highlighting broader consequences it argues could arise from the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia.

The advertisement will run on the free-to-air commercial networks as well as pay-TV stations. Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York told The Australian that some supporters of the Yes campaign were trying to silence those who supported traditional marriage and “put a negative tone on what we’re trying to say”.

“At this point in time we have a fighting chance to push back on this gender theory and teachings in schools,” she said.

FULL STORY

Archbishop clarifies stance: No sacking threat for staff in same-sex marriage  (Melbourne Catholic)

Same-sex marriage: TV ad features mothers pushing No message  (The Australian)

RELATED COVERAGE

Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart says same-sex marriage could weaken society  (The Australian)

Aussie mums say no to radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education in schools (Coalition 4 Marriage)

'Love is the primary gospel value': Elite Catholic schools defy church leadership on same-sex marriage  (Sydney Morning Herald)

Anti same-sex marriage campaign airs: ‘School told my son he could wear a dress’  (News.com.au)

Transgender students welcomed by Lismore's Catholic secondary school principal, community (ABC News)

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