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Same Sex Marriage Debate in Townsville Could Be Resolved in Mediation

Monday, November, 13, 2017

Former Townsville City Council employee Willem Engelbrecht was suspended for six months after leaving a controversial book at his job.  The book claims free speech is at risk if same-sex marriage becomes illegal in the country.


Engelbrecht became the subject of a misconduct investigation after he left the book in the lunchroom with his business card and name inside.


The book in question is called Correct Not Politically Correct – How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.  It is written by Frank Turek and as the title indicates, argues against same-sex marriages.  It was found by one of Engelbrecht’s co-workers, another council employee. 


That person filed a complaint, which triggered months of legal back-and-forth that led to the misconduct charges and Engelbrecht’s suspension.  According to the council, the material in the book could “incite hate” and severely ridicule people in same-sex relationships.


Engelbrecht admitted the book was his and said he left it in the lunchroom by mistake.  He accepted his suspension, but has since stated he is concerned that reading material with alternative opinions could result in legal action.   He also stated, “Legalizing same-sex marriage will not only undermine the very essence of what marriage is all about, a union between a man and a woman in order to raise well-adjusted children but will severely impact our right to have an alternative opinion or even to debate an alternative opinion. Our children will be exposed to radical sex education without the parents’ consent or even without them knowing about it and any resistance will be punished by legal action. ”


Australians are currently involved in a post survey about legalizing same-sex marriage.  The mediation will determine if Engelbrecht’s suspension can remain in place.