30 January 2016

The cost of the promised people's vote on marriage is a reasonable price to pay to settle what has been a long running campaign by activists, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

“Given the relentlessness of those pushing for change, $160 million is a reasonable and necessary price to pay to settle the issue," ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

"If marriage is changed there will be profound consequences for children required to miss out on their mother or father and millions of Australians will have to give up rights to freedom of speech, association and religion.

"And anyone who thinks that changing the definition of marriage will be the end of rainbow politics, they should think again.

"Next will be a push for commercial surrogacy and mandatory homosexual sex education in schools, something that is already creeping in through the so-called Safe Schools Coalition Australia.

“Ever since the peoples’ vote was announced, activists for redefining marriage have worked hard to take the say off the people.”

Mr Shelton said during the past 10 years there has been 16 failed attempts to legislate same-sex marriage in the federal parliament as well as numerous failed attempts at state level.

“While I respect people’s absolute right to argue for a cause in a democracy, it is now proper that the people resolve this issue given the enormous amount time parliaments have spent on it.\

"Activists have had 10 years of relentless but failed parliamentary manoeuvring and it is now right and proper that the matter be given to the people.

“I am aware of the extreme pressure many parliamentarians have been put under to change their mind on marriage.

“No one wants to be considered a bigot or homophobe but this is how people have been type-cast who support marriage and the rights of children to be loved by both their parents wherever possible.

"The pressure has been too much for many MPs, some of whom have capitulated in recent times."

Mr Shelton said redefining marriage activists should stop undermining the plebiscite.

"They keep claiming overwhelming support yet don't want to take the issue to the people. This doesn't make sense.

"We need a free and fair debate so Australians can assess the claims of both sides and then make their decision in the privacy of the ballot box free from intimidation and pressure."