For release: 1 June 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today said the proposal to redfine marriage was a plan to divide Australians.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Mr Shorten’s bill did not include any protections for Australians who will always believe that marriage is gender-diverse.

“There will always be millions of Australians who for cultural or religious reasons will continue to believe that marriage is unchangeable,” Mr Shelton said. “They will always want to speak about this publicly and teach it to their children.

“Mr Shorten clearly hasn’t thought through his plan to redefine marriage. By redefining marriage he is redefining family. By definition, same-sex parenting means intentionally removing a child from their mum or dad.

“Today’s proposal to redefine marriage and family will mean an increased demand for surrogacy and other forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology from same-sex partners wanting children. Yet this bill does not contain any prohibition on commercial surrogacy. There are no protections for children born through ART arrangements to be guaranteed access to information about their biological parents.

“Bill Shorten’s plan to redefine marriage and family doesn’t contain any protections for the millions of Australians who will never agree with same-sex marriage.

“Where are the protections for people in the wedding industry who for religious or cultural reasons have a conscientious objection to working on a same-sex wedding?

“We have no confidence the so-called ‘protections’ for churches will stand the test of time. Existing protections for religious freedom in anti-discrimination law are already under attack and some have been eroded. It would be naïve to think churches will be protected forever.”