What follows is a leaked* “cheat sheet”, free photocopies of which were handed out by Liberal Senator James Paterson along with his marriage equality bill. Crikey understands the authenticity of this document is a bit dubious, but then so is legally permissible discrimination.
Confused about Senator James Paterson’s new marriage equality bill? No need! Here are a few helpful hypothetical scenarios to help you understand the practical ramifications of the Senator’s scheme.
Q: John runs a small bakery. Adam and Steve come into John’s bakery and ask if he can bake them a cake. When John asks them if the cake is for their wedding, they say no, it’s for a birthday party. Can John legally refuse to bake Adam and Steve’s cake?
A: Yes, he can, as he noticed that when Adam said “no”, he looked nervously from side to side. This constitutes grounds for reasonable discrimination.
Q: Alison has two lesbian friends who are getting married, and they have asked her to do the flower arrangements. Alison goes to a party supplies shop to buy ribbons to tie the flowers together. The shop owner tells her that he will not sell anything to be used in a gay wedding, but Alison signs an affidavit affirming that she believes gender is binary and determined at birth. Can the shop owner refuse to sell the ribbons?
A: No, unless he has a genuine belief that Alison is promiscuous.
Q: Graeme has learned that his son is being taught at school that evolution by means of natural selection is the process whereby the variety of plant and animal species living on Earth came about. This conflicts with Graeme’s religion, which holds that science causes AIDS. Can Graeme legally remove his son from school?
A: Not if the school offers an alternative option for Graeme’s son, where he spends science class in a different room studying the history of heterosexuality. If the school is unable to provide this alternative class, Graeme may remove his son.
Q: Ross is a Catholic priest who strongly believes that same-sex marriage is a violation of civilisational norms. Everyone in his community knows this and so no same-sex couples ever ask him to perform their wedding ceremony. Ross resents not having the chance to turn down their requests: does he have any legal recourse?
A: Yes, under the terms of the bill, Ross can make an official complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission and have the gays in his neighbourhood investigated for anti-Christian bigotry.
Q: Cheryl is a small business owner who sells a three-pack of underpants to a young man, but seven months later finds out that one of the pairs of underpants was worn to a gay wedding. Is she legally entitled to demand the underpants back?
A: She cannot demand the same underpants back, but the customer is required to provide her with a pair of underpants of at least the same value. Also, the marriage will be automatically nullified.
Q: Amber is a transgender woman. This makes Harold uncomfortable, but he doesn’t run any kind of business that allows him to refuse Amber service. What recourse does Harold have?
A: He is legally permitted to direct up to four (4) dirty looks at Amber per day.
*As acquired by satirist Ben Pobjie