jim_wallaceACL's Managing Director Jim Wallace had an opinion piece published in The Punch this morning - Gay marriage is threatening our freedom of faith

Please see below for a copy of Jim's opinion piece. Please consider posting a comment on The Punch about this article.

The concurrent parliamentary inquiries on gay marriage mark a new low point in what has been the constant manipulation of truth and democratic process by gay activists in the pursuit of same-sex marriage.

As the inquiries closed it was evident that they had been reduced to the status of cheap public polls instead of what they should be - our highest forums for review for public policy.

The manipulation of truth over this issue has had a long precedent and we should question why it is necessary.

It began with the claim that 10 per cent of the population were homosexual some 30 years ago, perpetuated even today and in some cases with even wilder claims, when authoritative studies put the number of homosexuals at between 1.5 and 2 per cent of the population.

Activists have persisted in the claim that not being allowed to marry will leave homosexual couples discriminated against, when some 85 laws have been changed to ensure that no such discrimination exists in any area of entitlement.

This lack of critical analysis of gay activists’ demands has also resulted in concessions in other areas of policy that are not only illogical but clearly against the rights of others and particularly children. A combination of public demonisation of alternative voices and misrepresentation of fact, mean we have even removed fathers’ names from birth certificates, allowed babies and wards of the state to be given to two men, and single men to be able to get a child through surrogacy.

Deliberate intent to deceive parliament and public opinion is best illustrated by the blatant and widespread misrepresentation of numbers in favour of marriage in individual electorates in 2011. Greens MP Adam Bandt had called for politicians to seek the opinion of their electorates on same-sex marriage and to report back last August. Fortunately those trying to rig the result had not counted on the ability of politicians to check names against electoral roles.

Malcolm Turnbull reported that of 4,000 responses received, nearly 1,700 were from outside the electorate. Graham Perrett MP for Moreton noted that he received 900 out of 2,270 responses from outside his electorate. This can hardly be less than deceit on a grand scale and must cause us to question not only the relevance of numbers in the current inquiries, but how much we can trust the assurances of these activists that they would not move straight from gay marriage if they ever achieved it, to persecution of those who hold alternate views.

Two of the current Bills before the parliament contain supposed assurances that freedom of religion and conscience would be protected for both individual ministers and churches. But the deceit and manipulation used in getting this far and overseas experience give no such confidence to most people of faith.

There are a growing number of overseas examples of gay activism pursuing churches and individual Christians through litigation despite guarantees in legislation.

In the UK a supposedly reasonable approach to provide civil partnership ceremonies, which in legislation specifically excused the church from participating, was changed after six years of activism to say the church may participate. Immediately and predictably the next phase of gay activists intolerance was announced when MP Mike Weatherley declared that any church that didn’t provide homosexual marriage should lose its licence to conduct any.

This vulnerability for the church was placed in sharp relief by a recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights.

Two French lesbians had been denied the right to adopt because the law there sensibly requires that you must be married. But the French government has repeatedly denied same-sex marriage mainly based on this sort of consequence, which it judges not to be in the best interests of children. The French courts have ruled that denying same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional. While the plaintiffs clearly expected a different approach from a human rights court they didn’t get it.

Firstly the court said that gay marriage or adoption were not human rights and therefore that the French government was quite within its rights to deny it. However, it also made the telling point that in countries where same-sex marriage had been given, that adoption and indeed any other right accorded married people as a group could not be denied.

The clear implication of this for churches and people of faith more generally, is that to legislate for gay marriage is to create a real vulnerability for their freedom of faith and religious conscience. It sets the scene for churches to be unable to deny religious services without expecting expensive litigation from these activists, if only to put pressure on governments to remove protections in the law.

These vulnerabilities are all the more real when you consider the current determination of gay activists to remove protections for freedom of religion from both federal and state anti-discrimination laws. A host of submissions by gay lobbies to the current review of federal anti-discrimination laws have demanded the removal of these protections in what is an amazing show of intolerance to other people’s sensitivities and right to live according to their worldview.

But if the methods should make our politicians wary of changing the Marriage Act, then the reality of the need for activists to misrepresent the numbers, so essential in politics, should strike at the very heart of their political interest.

Public polls asking in isolation whether people support homosexual marriage draw predictable responses when activists’ propaganda paints a false picture of discrimination. But there is strong evidence that very few people decide their vote on the basis of gay marriage.

In the recent Queensland election Anna Bligh worked feverishly to court the gay constituency. She had passed laws allowing gay surrogacy and rushed through civil union legislation in a desperate attempt to win the gay vote. Well she probably did, but the political irrelevance of it was well demonstrated when it couldn’t even secure the inner city seat of the parliament’s champion of gay rights Andrew Fraser.

Regardless of the size of the general vote against Labor and what you mainly attribute it to, this is a telling reality, and one clearly reinforced by the lack of real importance of gay marriage to other parts of the supposedly progressive electorate.

In a recent poll of its members to determine their areas of primary concern, GetUp! had to admit that gay marriage didn’t even appear in their top ten issues. How much lower will it be for others given the nature of GetUp!’s membership and the high profile of its same-sex marriage campaign with it?

This outcome simply confirmed a truth already revealed in GetUp!’s 2008/09 Annual Report where the issue of gay marriage figured 12th on the members’ list of concerns. In fact it was rated more often as the issue they least wanted GetUp! campaigning on than any other single issue.

In light of the trail of deception used in pursuit of gay marriage, the inevitable manipulation of the public submission stages of the two most recent parliamentary inquires should carry a strong lesson for politics and the general population.

One is that governments cannot afford to create vulnerability for people of faith when the mischievous intent of many of the activists pursuing this agenda is so obvious, and the second is that falsely contrived support for gay marriage will not be relevant in the privacy of the polling booth.