[caption id="attachment_5959" align="alignright" width="150" caption="MD Jim Wallace"][/caption]

Media Release

For release: July 18, 2011

The Australian Christian Lobby’s Managing Director Jim Wallace today joined what would have been fellow debating team members Tasmanian Liberal MP Michael Ferguson and the Australian Family Association’s Terri Kelleher in withdrawing from a debate on gay marriage at the University of Tasmania, in protest at the increasing use of demonisation tactics by gay activists in pursuing their agenda.

In a joint statement the three said their withdrawal was no reflection on UTAS, but that “a debate is about the ability to put competing views in a civil environment where the reasonable opinions of all participants are respected, and one which is free of personal attack and vitriol.  But given the record of some gay activists and their supporters in the public debate on this issue, we have no confidence that that will be the case.”

They made reference to the shocking and unfounded attempt to slur Michael Ferguson by ALP State MP Brenton Best, when he accused him of being “partly responsible” for the bashing of a gay man simply because he had been a member of a family values group some eight years before.

“But this is increasingly typical of the tactics being used by the gay rights lobby and their media,” the statement said, read by Mr Wallace.  “Only last Thursday the Sydney Star Observer described the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association, who Terri and I represent, as ’gay hate’ groups”.

“The ACL is committed to represent Christ in what we do - not to hate, but to love, even those who oppose us.  Because Christ’s purpose and witness by my organisation is all important to us,” Mr Wallace said.

Speaking personally within the statement, Mr Wallace said gay activists seem oblivious to the fact that their vitriol hurts people well beyond their targets.

“I personally have both same sex attracted friends and associations that I value, and I am deeply offended by these attacks which inevitably damage those relationships,” he said, “such attacks also prey on concerns by same sex attracted people that they might be hated, and this is not the case in society today.”

The statement went on to say how the attempted revision of marriage deserved full debate.

“Marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as the embodiment of motherhood and fatherhood with all their important implications for children, is deeply valued as that by many people for both cultural and faith reasons.  This is the definition of marriage, and for many these concepts are precious, even sacred, and people with those views should be free in this society to raise them in the public square without intimidation.”

The statement concluded by saying that, “it is time that political and community leaders at every level demand that all important social issues including this one, be allowed to be debated on their merits.”

Click here to hear an audio recording of Mr Wallace's address to press in Tasmania.

Click here to read the transcript of the press conference.