tas gabfest

Last week in Hobart leaders and supporters of the No case against same-sex marriage placed a substantial deposit on the use of an auditorium at the Wrest Point hotel and casino, operated by Federal Hotels, only to be informed days later that neither their money nor custom would be accepted. There was nothing resembling an explanation, simply the return of the organisers’ downpayment and the implicit instruction to take a hike. As it happened and to its credit, the University of Tasmania provided a lecture theatre and the meeting went ahead more or less as planned.

But why would family-owned Federal Hotels slam the door? Hosting functions of one sort or another is one of the hotel chain’s stocks in trade. The deposit cheque didn’t bounce and No supporters aren’t apt to erupt in riotous misconduct, not to date in any case. True, a demonstration had been announced to “call out”, as the Left likes to say, people who hold the wrong opinions, but that protest was soon called off — one imagines at the insistence of Yes case managers, who must finally have realised that a mob of snotty post-teen activists hurling abuse is a poor look.

The speakers (above) at a recent conference aimed at promoting workplace gender and sexual diversity might just provide a clue why Wrest Point barred the door.

There is Tasmania’s former anti-discrimination commissioner Robin Banks, the woman who accepted and acted to pursue a transsexual Greens candidate’s demand that those unfashionable Catholic bishops be given a stern rebuke for advising the faithful that the church has not changed its position on gay marriage. Ms Banks is one of the leaders of the Yes movement in Tasmania.

After Ms Banks comes Susan Ditter, who heads a state-funded group, Working it Out, which states its goal as assisting those “negotiating their gender, sexuality and or intersex status in Tasmania”.

Finally, Dianne Underwood. And her job? Why, human resources manager at Wrest Point! As her CV explains, she is

… responsible for leading cultural change across Federal Group businesses …

One can never know another’s mind, but it is a fair bet none of those conference speakers would grant a disapproving baker or florist the right not to cater a gay wedding. When it comes to providing a warm room in which gay-marriage opponents can talk, just talk, the right to reject business, and reject it with a rudeness verging on open contempt, well that is apparently A-OK.

For more on the views Ms Banks represents,  follow the link below to read of her support — her qualified support — for freedom of religion, which she insists must bow to “community standards”.

Community standards, perhaps, as set by those who push “cultural change”?

–roger franklin

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