MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 6 September 2012

Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Jim Wallace says gay activists have misrepresented his comments about smoking in a deliberate attempt to demonise and to shut down debate.

“I was not comparing homosexuality with smoking at all. What I was saying is that on one hand we are vocal on our discouragement of people to smoke and on the other we are suppressing public dialogue about the health risks associated with homosexuality.

“Instead of more free speech-suppressing vitriol and demonisation from the gay activists, there needs to be an open and honest debate before Parliament changes the definition of marriage,” Mr Wallace said.

He called on Tasmanian activist Rodney Croome to stop spreading misinformation to the media, and more importantly through it, to young people.

Mr Wallace said Mr Croome gave wrong information to the media yesterday which was uncritically reported without comment being sought from ACL.

In his answer to a student’s question at UTAS, Mr Wallace was referring to Canadian gay activists who in 2009 said years of legal gay marriage had not solved the health crisis in their community.  http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Canadas_healthcare_system_is_homophobic_says_group-6314.aspx

“By the activists’ own admission in this submission gay marriage did not solve the mental and other chronic physical health problems associated with the gay lifestyle,” Mr Wallace said.

“Far from being out of date information we know that every year over 80 per cent of newly acquired HIV infections are the result of male homosexuality and this is verified in the 2011 report of the Kirby Institute at UNSW,” Mr Wallace said.

“2011 is about as up to date as you can get.” (See HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2011 – the Kirby Institute , UNSW http://www.kirby.unsw.edu.au/surveillance/2011-annual-surveillance-report-hiv-viral-hepatitis-stis)

“We rightly warn of the health impacts of smoking. Surely we cannot allow these aggressive activists to conceal the facts of a lifestyle that accounts for over eighty percent of new HIV cases in Australia annually.

“If we warn against smoking because it carries health dangers, we should also be warning young people in particular about activity which clearly carries health risks.”

Mr Wallace also called Mr Croome to account on the claim that gay marriage would solve the tragic rates of depression, suicide and drug use in the homosexual community.

“In the very few countries which have redefined marriage, this has not improved gay health or caused the suicide rate to drop.  Massachusetts is a case in point where the tragic rate of suicide in gay teens was four times that of their heterosexual peers both four years before and four years after the legislation of gay marriage,” Mr Wallace said.

“This is not “equal love” in its health consequences, and we need to consider the message we send to young people struggling with their sexuality in according it equal status through marriage,” said Mr Wallace.

“As I said yesterday, I am deeply saddened by the human suffering that is behind the poor health data of the gay community.

“This can only be addressed by looking at the real issues that cause it, not by changing the definition of marriage and certainly not by vilifying those with a different view to the activists,” Mr Wallace said.

Commenting on Mr Croome’s statement that his comments had dealt ACL out of the debate Mr Wallace said “Mr Croome would like ACL driven out of the debate as they have bullied everyone else so that they can spread their misinformation unchallenged – but we will not be.”