Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director Lyle Shelton has thanked the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the respectful tone he set today in introducing a bill for a people’s vote on redefining marriage.

“Mr Turnbull has set a gracious and inclusive tone which authorises all Australians to participate in the discussion about whether or not marriage is redefined.”

Mr Shelton said millions of Australians had felt fearful of participating in the debate about marriage for fear of being labelled a bigot or a homophobe.

“It was great to hear the Prime Minister respecting the points of view of all Australians,” Mr Shelton said.

Mr Turnbull told Parliament: “It is wrong to categorise people who oppose same-sex marriage as homophobic or hating homosexuals. The argument against the plebiscite is, basically, that people can't be trusted to have a civil conversation. That insults the Australian people. That disrespects the Australian people. We have to respect that it is an issue of conscience for millions of Australians who have different views on it. It is vital that we respect all of those views."

Mr Shelton said Mr Turnbull’s gracious comments today would empower millions of Australians to respectfully join the discussion about whether or not marriage should be redefined.

“ACL looks forward to continuing to participate in a respectful debate and hopes the Australian Labor Party will allow the people to have their say by passing the necessary legislation in the Senate.”