6 March 2016

Changing the Marriage Act will impact far more Australians than just ministers of religion conducting wedding ceremonies, Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said today.

Mr Shelton was responding to comments by Attorney General George Brandis on Sky this morning which implied the government was looking at protecting religious people from anti-discrimination actions.

“While we welcome Senator Brandis’ recognition that protection is needed for religious wedding celebrants, freedom of conscience rights must also be extended to people of faith or no faith who supply services to the wedding industry,” Mr Shelton said.

“In the United States and Europe bakers, florists, photographers and wedding chapel owners have all fallen foul of the law, and in some cases have incurred big fines, for exercising their conscientiously held views about the truth of marriage.

“Clergy are not the only ones with freedom of conscience rights.”

Mr Shelton welcomed Senator Brandis’ clarification of the timing of the people’s vote on marriage, and urged Australians to inform themselves of the far-reaching consequences of changing the definition of marriage in law.

“Not many Australians realise that all discrimination against gay couples was removed back in 2008 by the Rudd Labor government and this was supported by ACL and many church groups.

“What people are only starting to realise is that rainbow ideology reaches into all areas of life, including schools where children are now being inducted into contested gender theory and age-inappropriate sexual concepts.

“Many people are also not aware of the free speech implications with a leading church figure, Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous, currently in front of the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission simply for expressing the Christian view of marriage.”

Mr Shelton re-iterated ACL’s call for state-based anti-discrimination laws to be set aside so there can be freedom to discuss marriage in the lead-up to the plebiscite.

“This is not about licensing hate, it is about being able to discuss the basics of marriage in the way Archbishop Porteous was doing without the threat of legal action.”

Mr Shelton said people also don’t realise that same-sex marriage redefines parenting which means locking into law and culture the idea that it is ok for children to miss out on their mother or father, even when there is no tragedy or desertion.

“If Australians value the rights of children to wherever possible have their mum and dad, if they value freedom of speech and parents’ rights to protect their kids from contested gender theory at school, they will vote no in the privacy of the ballot box,” Mr Shelton said.