Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today said it expected it would only be a matter of time before protection of religious freedoms in the UK would diminish following the recent legislation redefining marriage passing in the House of Commons.

ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said that although the UK bill allows religious organisations to say ‘no’ to conducting same-sex marriages, a challenge to this in the European Court of Human Rights has already been flagged, even before the bill has been voted on in the House of Lords.

“Legal expert opinion suggests that the court could rule that if same-sex marriage is normalised in law, any church would be obliged to marry same-sex couples,” Mr Wallace said.

“The passing of this legislation redefining marriage in the UK is yet another demonstration of governments failing to protect freedom of religion and conscience for churches,” he said, “in fact it goes further and creates a vulnerability that activists are indicating they will pursue.”

“No Australian political leader can suggest that protections could be provided to the church in the light of the clear intention of activists in the UK to pursue any loophole in their pursuit of the church,” he said.

He said the Australian Parliament made the right decision in rejecting same-sex marriage last year.

“Our parliamentarians should not be bullied into creating another debate on marriage when it was so decisively defeated late last year,” Mr Wallace said.

“MPs know it doesn’t rate in their electorates. The UK provides another example that redefining marriage is not the end of the gay activists’ agenda,” he said.