For release: 2 June 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today renewed its call on the Liberal party to stand by its principled policy on marriage by continuing to vote as one on the issue.

The call comes as another Liberal, Sarah Henderson, in the marginal Victorian seat of Corangamite, capitulated on marriage.

“If the Liberal party room was to also capitulate and grant a conscience vote, it would mean the party no longer had a policy position on marriage,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“This would be a big disappointment for the party’s middle Australia supporters whose expectation at the 2013 election was that the party would defend marriage and family.

“It is appropriate for a political party to have a principled position on an issue as important as this, that  defines and protects the natural family.

“Redefining marriage weakens family by separating children from their natural mothers and fathers through demand for ethically dubious assisted reproductive technologies such as anonymous sperm donation and surrogacy. By definition, same-sex parenting means intentionally removing a child from their mum or dad and this has serious consequences.

“If we legalise so-called ‘marriage equality’, equal access to the benefits of marriage must be provided including unfettered access to children through surrogacy.  This issue carries serious unresolved ethical questions.

“A child should always be allowed to know who their biological mother and father is. This is not protected through so called ‘marriage equality’ law.

“People in the wedding industry who for religious or cultural reasons have a conscientious objection to working on a same-sex wedding will also be punished as they suffer legal consequences under anti-discrimination laws.

“Existing protections for religious freedom in anti-discrimination law are already under attack and some have been eroded. In the US, England and Ireland we have seen the legal consequences for those who object due to deeply held views. It would be naïve to think churches will be protected forever.”

Mr Shelton said there was an expectation that the Liberal party would protect these basic freedoms, not create vulnerabilities for people of conscience.