The Australian Christian Lobby has called on Defence Minister Marise Payne to protect the nation’s armed forces from being co-opted into political causes, after uniformed personnel again marched in Saturday’s Mardi Gras in Sydney.

ACL managing director, Lyle Shelton, said the defence forces had a proud tradition of not participating in political activities while in uniform and Mardi Gras, which operated this year under the theme of ‘Creating Equality’, was clearly political activism which sought to put pressure on the Australian Government to redefine marriage.

“Marching in uniform under the rainbow political flag and adding non-regulation rainbow colours to the army’s sacred Rising Sun Badge worn by our soldiers for more than 100 years, is incredibly disrespectful to the concerns of millions of Australians worried about the threats to their freedom if marriage is redefined,” Mr Shelton said.

“It would appear that our army is being co-opted to take part in a political campaign to redefine marriage. Mardi Gras is about the most politically charged march in Australia with its open ridicule of parliamentarians who do not support the political aims of the organisers.

“The rainbow flag has become the political symbol for redefining marriage, the standard for Safe Schools which teaches children their gender is fluid, and the flag of the movement that wants to use so-called hate speech laws to fine Australians who disagree with redefining marriage.”  

Mr Shelton said it was concerning that defence force chiefs were making political decisions about which cause they should support.

“If the army can take part in one political event, why can’t they take part in other political events?

“Are some political causes more equal than others?

“Many Australians would love to see military personnel marching in uniform in pro-life marches but it seems this is not permissible.

“There appears to be a double standard,” Mr Shelton said.

The ACL today launched a petition which calls on Minister Payne to ensure that the military is above politics.  It has already attracted more than 5000 signatories.