Anti-gay marriage book to be investigated

A complaint against the Catholic Church over an anti-gay marriage booklet will be investigated by Tasmania's anti-discrimination commissioner.

Tasmania's anti-discrimination commissioner will investigate an anti-gay marriage booklet over claims it is insulting and offensive, but a legal group argues the move is an attack on free speech.

The Catholic Church published and distributed "Don't Mess With Marriage" in mid-2015, outlining its stance against changing the Marriage Act to include same-sex couples.

Human rights campaigner and Greens lower house candidate for the 2016 election, Martine Delaney, lodged a complaint with the anti-discrimination commissioner and on Thursday was told the matter will be investigated.

That can lead to the complaint's dismissal, a move to conciliation, or referral to a tribunal.

"I'm more than happy for it to go to conciliation," Ms Delaney said on Friday of her complaint.

"I've sought an apology and for the Catholic education system to involve itself in LGBTI awareness for students."

But the fact the commissioner has accepted to look at the case has sparked reaction for a legal rights division of the Institute of Public Affairs.

"If the Catholic Church cannot distribute a booklet on Catholic teaching to Catholics, who can it distribute them to?" Legal Rights Project director Simon Breheny said, adding that the complaint should have been dismissed.

The booklet was produced by the Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference and authorised by Hobart's Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous for distribution to thousands of Tasmanian families through the church's school system.

"This case highlights the attack on free speech represented by anti-discrimination law. It should never be a crime to offend a person," Mr Breheny said.

With a national plebiscite on the issue of same-sex marriage forecast, all perspectives and opinions must be allowed to be heard, he added.

Ms Delaney maintains that the booklet is inappropriate, and that it marginalises same-sex couples and their families.

The commission does not comment on matters under investigation.

Source AAP

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