Where should the line fall between protecting people’s right to hold religious beliefs and the right to be free from discrimination?
It’s a question that’s emerged several times as the same-sex marriage debate has unfolded in Australia.
“Freedom of religion is not absolute. And neither is anti-discrimination law. Both are rights, absolutely, but both have limitations - particularly where they impinge upon the rights of others,” University of Western Australia law lecturer Renae Barker says in an interview on The Conversation’s new half-hour podcast, Trust Me I’m An Expert.
On Trust Me, I’m An Expert, we ask academics to share their expertise with us, unpack the issues making headlines and explain the research in a way we can all understand.
In a world of endless opinions and hot takes, we’re aiming to bring you informed analysis and the research evidence from the world of academia.
Our first episode tackles the debate underway as Australia contemplates changing the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couple to marry.
Dr Barker, an expert on the relationship between religion and the state, explains what the law really says on secularism, religion and discrimination in the context of same-sex marriage. And she outlines some of complex legal issues that may emerge if it is legalised in Australia.
Here’s a snippet of the interview:
“Should someone be permitted to refuse to provide a service where they don’t agree with the beliefs of the person they are providing the service to? That’s a conversation we have to have as a society. It’s going to need to be carefully discussed and debated and we need to be prepared for whatever the consequences of that may be,” she says in the full interview, featured on episode one of Trust Me, I’m An Expert.
“That’s going to need a mature, reasoned, polite, political debate – and I’m not sure we are having that just yet.”
In this episode of the podcast, we also asked University of Divinity biblical scholar Robyn J. Whitaker to detail what the Bible really says about human sexuality, in a historically grounded analysis informed by disciplines such as archaeology, history and social science.
And Jennifer Power, a La Trobe University researcher who has reviewed the major studies on outcomes for children raised by same-sex parents, fact-checks the oft-repeated claim that kids do best when they are raised by a mother and a father.
Trust Me, I’m An Expert is out at the start of every month. Find us and subscribe in iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
You can read more about what the podcast is all about, and listen to our teaser episode, here.
Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks
Blue Dot Sessions: When in the West, from Free Music Archive.
Podington Bear: Bass Rider, from Free Music Archive
Scott Gratton: Electro Lab from Free Music Archive.
Q&A on ABC TV, The Misinformation Ecosystem.
Additional recording by Rhys Woolf.
Authors: Sunanda Creagh, Editor, The Conversation