25 September 2015

A peoples’ vote on marriage is not a ‘cop out’ or something to be feared, Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton said today.

“Changing the definition of marriage is the biggest social change a society can make with enormous consequences for the rights of children and for freedom of conscience,” Mr Shelton said.

“If motherlessness or fatherlessness is to be institutionalised by law, the people should have a say first.

“If Australians who support the timeless understanding of marriage are to be considered bigoted under same-sex marriage and associated anti-discrimination laws, then the people should have a say first.

“It is not for politicians, at the behest of a well-organised lobby, to redefine marriage for all Australians.”

Mr Shelton said it would be far more divisive for the nation if politicians redefined marriage without giving the people a say.

“Very few issues have had the parliamentary time expended on them as the push for same-sex marriage. It is time for the people to decide, something opinion polling consistently shows they are keen to do.”

A recent Essential Poll found 67pc of Australians wanted a peoples’ vote to resolve the definition of marriage (see p. 16).

“If politicians and same-sex marriage activists are worried that a people’s vote might ‘sink reform’, their commitment to democratic principles must be called into question.”

Mr Shelton commended Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull for honouring the Coalition’s decision to take the issue to the people after the election.

“Because the overwhelming weight of media coverage has favoured changing the definition of marriage, time is needed for the other side of the debate to be put.

“Also, the cost of a plebiscite is justified because a price can’t be put on public policy which requires children to miss out on their mother or father.

“This is a big decision and anyone who things changing the definition of marriage will not lead to further calls for the liberalisation of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology laws is naïve.”