The Australian Christian Lobby today called on the Labor party to keep faith with Leader Bill Shorten’s support for a free vote at the ACL conference last October.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said he was surprised to see Labor’s Acting Leader Tanya Plibersek last night break ranks with Mr Shorten on the issue while he was overseas.

“Mr Shorten made it very clear to ACL’s national conference that Labor believed its parliamentarians should not be forced to redefine marriage,” Mr Shelton said.

“Redefining marriage is a controversial and divisive issue, even within the Labor Party.

“Many Labor MPs, including prominent frontbenchers voted to preserve marriage in 2012.

“Forcing Labor MPs to vote as a bloc on this issue would alienate a number of Labor MPs from their socially conservative electorates, especially in outer-metropolitan electorates.

“No MP should be forced to vote to redefine marriage. Redefining marriage would redefine family. And same-sex parenting by definition means removing a child from either its mother or father.”