Ask a Priest

Right to refuse: Divorcee Re-marrying vs Same-Sex Couple

Aug 22, 2017

Hi Father,

As the postal vote for same-sex marriage is coming up, I have been hearing more debate around the topic.

One objection to Christians who oppose same-sex marriage is “it seems hypocritical for a Christian baker to make a wedding cake for a divorcee who is re-marrying and refuse to serve a same-sex couple’s wedding cake because both actions are condemmed in the Bible”.

How should one respond to this?


Asked at 12:44 pm on August 22nd 2017

Hi Miguel, I’d be inclined to reply, ‘it seems hypocritical to make arguments that are so strange it’s hard to imagine them happening (like the one you mention) instead of discussing the real issue. That is that to apply the word ‘marriage’ which has for thousands of years referred only to committed relationships between a man and a woman to same sex relationships gives the word a new meaning – is a lot harder to understand than saying say, that in the name of equality, all sports should be called cricket.

Then the SSM lobby should be asked, why do some gay activists, once they’ve achieved their goal of having gay ‘marriage’ legalized, go out of their way to force their views on those who disagree with them. A week or so ago, Christine Forster, a Sydney councillor, said it was ridiculous to think such things could happen. I’m Irish, and over the last two years, married couple Ashers, who run a small bakery in Belfast, Northern Ireland were targetted by gay activists who ordered a cake with ‘support gay marriage’ and two Sesame St figures, Bert and Ernie on it. When, as the activists expected, they politely declined, they were immediately sued, lost their case in court, and effectively put out of business, with legal costs well over $200,00. The UK’s most well-known gay rights activist, Peter Tatchell said that the

“verdict is a defeat for freedom of expression [and could set a] dangerous, authoritarian precedent. Although I strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be compelled to facilitate a political idea that they oppose. The judgment opens a can of worms. It means that a Muslim printer could be obliged to publish cartoons of Mohammed and a Jewish printer could be required to publish a book that propagates Holocaust denial.”

There’s a lot more than could be said, for example the 2015 court case against Archbishop Julian Porteus in Tasmania, again brought by a gay activist, because the archbishop dared to put into print Catholic teaching in homosexuality. That case was later withdrawn (I’m sure because it just wouldn’t look to good at the time, and not because there wasn’t a case in terms of Tasmania’s notorious Anti-Discrimination Act).

I’d be inclined to ask those folk you mention what they propose to do to prevent a tsunami of such legal cases if the Yes vote in the SSM plebiscite wins and SSM is legalized in Australia. Already Catholic adoption services have been forced to close down in the UK and the US because of such legal challenges. Very best, Fr Brendan

Replied at 06:28 am on August 30th 2017