For release: Tuesday, 7th May 2013

Coalition uncertainty over voting policy on marriage may force many Australians to consider minor parties who are clear on the issue at the September 14 election, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

“Upper House elections in Tasmania at the weekend which returned pro-marriage candidates showed there is little appetite for radical social policy such as redefining marriage,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“Those supporting marriage were rewarded at the ballot box after an expensive and high profile campaign failed to unseat them,” Mr Shelton said.

While ACL had welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s clarity on the issue, it was concerned proponents of redefining marriage were pressuring Coalition candidates to support watering down Coalition marriage policy.

ACL was preparing to target key marginal seats in the lead-up to the September 14 election with leaflets to highlight the social benefits of keeping marriage between a man and a woman.

“We want to highlight to the constituency those candidates and parties who support marriage and let voters know where a candidate is in favour of redefining marriage.”

Mr Shelton said it was regrettable that redefining marriage was becoming an election issue so soon after it was resoundingly defeated in the Australian Parliament last September.

“The Parliament has already spoken but if advocates for redefining marriage are so sure of public support, why don’t they back a referendum?”

Massive protests in France against the Hollande Government yesterday have been motivated in part by his legislating a new definition of marriage and UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party  has suffered an embarrassing setback in local council elections after he supported redefining marriage.

“I have great confidence in the ability of Australians, particularly under 35s, to think critically about this issue as long as an alternative view is allowed to be put in the public debate,” Mr Shelton said.

“There are consequences in redefining marriage for children, free speech and freedom of religion and this needs further public discussion.

“A referendum would be the ideal forum in which to have a balanced debate.”