The Australian Christian Lobby today said the release of Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage bill highlighted the very real risks posed by redefining marriage.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Mr Shorten’s plan to redefine marriage posed a serious risk to freedom of conscience, the rights of children and people who conscientiously object to the idea of same-sex marriage.

“This is a bill that will divide Australians,” Mr Shelton said. “It will not bring about equality for anyone.

“Mr Shorten hasn’t thought this through. He hasn’t done the necessary work to provide protections for children and people who disagree with same-sex marriage.

“Where are the protections for Australians working as service providers in the wedding industry who disagree with same-sex marriage? Will they be subjected to the same vilification and harassment and legal punishment we have seen in other countries?”

Mr Shelton said Mr Shorten had failed to consider the implications redefining marriage would have for children’s rights.

“Redefining marriage means redefining family. Mr Shorten clearly hasn’t thought about how two men would acquire a baby. If Australia redefines marriage there will be an increased demand for surrogacy and a push to legalise commercial surrogacy. It’s not possible to provide the benefits of marriage equality without legalised surrogacy and access to anonymous sperm donors.”