Tuesday, 22 November, 2011

The ACL said today that while Mr Wilkie may have been well intended in his motion to protect churches and ministers of religion from any consequences of a same-sex marriage bill, it would not give churches much confidence, or lessen mainstream religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

“The experience of the church around the world has been that there are always enough same-sex activists intent on persecuting the church through marriage or civil partnership legislation to ensure that such guarantees never hold for long,” said Mr Wallace.

“Anyone observing this debate and the vitriol directed at people defending marriage can see that this would quickly happen here.

“For example in the UK same-sex unions were specifically excluded from religious ceremonies when established some six years ago. But never satisfied, activists had the law changed to say churches could be involved in the ceremonies if they chose, and then immediately called for any churches that refused, to have their licence to conduct any marriages terminated,” he said.

“However even more at risk are those individual Christians who might be civil celebrants and are denied the right to refuse to do same-sex ceremonies as a matter of freedom of conscience,” said Mr Wallace.

“There are simply too many instances around the world of these people, and others who as a matter of conscience refuse to provide services to same-sex marriage celebrations, being hauled before courts, for us to take any confidence in this motion.

“Instead we should be asking how in the first place it is right to place churches and individual Christians at legal risk by providing same-sex people entitlement to an institution that by definition does for good reasons of nature exclude them,” said Mr Wallace.