Pastor explains why he wants you to vote no
A BARGARA church pastor will spearhead the anti-same-sex marriage campaign in Bundaberg, arguing a change to the Marriage Act could lead to legalising polygamy or incestuous marriages.
Almost 40,000 Coalition for Marriage flyers will be distributed across the Hinkler electorate by Coral Coast Christian Church pastor Brian Robertson and his 'no' team.
These pamphlets suggest saying yes to same-sex marriage will affect schools, free speech and religion, something the yes campaign argues is simply conflating the issue.
Pastor Robertson said while it was likely conservative Bundaberg residents would vote no, he was concerned about voter apathy for the non-binding same-sex marriage postal survey.
"That in itself can be problematic because people might think most people here are going to vote no and it's not compulsory so why bother," he said.
"That's why I think it's important that anyone who thinks marriage is a man/woman relationship ought to express that in the postal survey."
Pastor Robertson disagrees with consistent national polling showing Australians are largely in favour of same-sex marriage.
Recent surveys suggest 65% of Australians intend to take part in the survey, which is not compulsory. Of these, 70% said they would support gay marriage.
A new interactive, by the ABC, shows residents across regional Queensland are more likely to vote no in the upcoming survey with only 43% of voters in the Hinkler electorate supporting same-sex marriage.
"You only have to look at the United States presidential election and the Brexit vote," Pastor Robertson said.
"Many people here think same-sex marriage is inevitable but I'm not so sure."
The pastor said there were two main reasons he was voting no in the upcoming survey; the first was the severe consequences if Australia changed the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage.
"Firstly, the Marriage Act contains a number of prohibitions against certain individuals getting married for example; a father can't marry his daughter.
"Once we remove the prohibition that says two men or two women can't get married then what's to prevent the removal of other prohibitions.
"If your reason for redefining marriage is two people love each other and we don't want to discriminate then there is no logical reason to stop at that point."
The second reason, Pastor Robertson says, is a yes vote will see an increase in bigotry and hatred towards people who believe in the traditional form of marriage.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison have vowed to protect religious freedom in any bill to legalise same-sex marriage if a yes vote is returned in the government's postal survey.
Former prime minister John Howard has been one of the leading voices criticising the decision not to release a draft bill.
Pastor Robertson fears religious freedoms will be lost for churches and people with religious beliefs.
"Australian Greens say there should be no exemptions," Pastor Robertson said.
"The Prime Minister says there will be exemptions but how long will they last.
"In the US, we see a number of florists and bakers who, because of their religious views, don't want to partake in same-sex marriages and have been hounded through the legal system as a consequence."
The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 forbids discrimination generally on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status or pregnancy.
While religious organisations get an exemption, ordinary businesses do not.