Media Release

For release: June 27, 2011

The Gillard Government should not bow to the Greens’ stated priority for the Marriage Act to be changed before the next Federal election, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

“There’s still a long way to go in this debate,” ACL Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said today in response to Greens’ claims that same-sex marriage was “unstoppable”.

“At last year’s Federal election Australians voted for two major parties promising to retain marriage between one man and one woman.

“If Labor’s national conference in December votes to change the party’s platform to redefine marriage, it would be a breach of faith with the electorate if the Government allowed a change to the Marriage Act without first taking such a proposal to an election.

“Labor’s election commitment, reinforced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s statements that her Government would not change the Marriage Act, means there should be no change at least in the life of this Parliament.

“It would be ironic in the extreme if the party in the Parliament which achieved the least number of votes at the election caused the government to break its election commitment on marriage,” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Shelton said it was wrong of the Greens to compare the vote in the New York Senate to the Australian situation. In New York, unlike Australia, same-sex couples did not have equality under the law.

This was achieved in Australia in 2008 with amendment of 84 laws giving same-sex couples identical rights as de-facto heterosexual couples.

“Just because same-sex couples in Australia already have legal equality does not mean that marriage should be redefined,” Mr Shelton said.

ACL couriered 13 tonnes of non-party partisan voter information to 5000 churches last year, which among a wide range of issues of Christian concern, included Labor and the Coalition’s commitments on marriage.

“There is a clear expectation in the constituency that both major parties will honour their commitments,” Mr Shelton said.

“Proponents for same-sex marriage argue that the majority of Australians’ support it. But this is inaccurate; the latest poll done by Essential Media in March showed 49 per cent of people supported same-sex marriage, down from 53 per cent in November last year.”

In a video interview two weeks before the 2010 election with ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace, Ms Gillard said:

“The Marriage Act will stay unchanged, so marriage will be defined as it is in our current Marriage Act as between a man and a woman, and we have also said that the Labor Party policy is we do not want to see the development of ceremonies that mimic marriage ceremonies. And so that’s the party policy, and as Prime Minister, as the leader of the parliamentary Labor Party that’s obviously my policy, and that’s what you should expect to see from the Gillard Labor Government if we’re re-elected.”