For release: 2 June 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby was today concerned at the intolerance and vandalism being shown to conscientious objectors of same-sex marriage and call for a mature public debate.

Today it was reported that Australian Marriage Forum president, Dr David van Gend’s medical practice had been graffitied with the words “van Gend bigot”.  The attack follows abuse levelled at the Australian Christian Lobby through social media by Crikey editor Bernard Keane and Throsby MP Stephen Jones.

“Those of us who in good faith do not support changing the definition of marriage are tired of being called bigots and other names,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“This week we have again seen the ugly side of the pro same-sex marriage lobby.

“I’ve got thick skin and these attacks are water off a duck’s back however there are millions of Australians who for religious and cultural reasons will never accept a redefinition of marriage.

“They would be forgiven for thinking these acts of vandalism and abuse are just a foretaste of what is to come if Australia redefines marriage.

“This debate must be conducted in a climate of free speech and civility where the contrary arguments can be put and given a fair hearing.

“Sadly we have seen in other countries that have redefined marriage that people who hold fast to the natural and timeless understanding of marriage have faced legal punishment for living out their conscientious beliefs.

“Bill Shorten needs to guarantee that there will be protections for the millions of Australians who disagree with his plan to redefine marriage and family.”


  • 2 June 2015 – it was reported Dr David van Gend’s medical practice was vandalised with the words “bigot van Gend” spray painted on the building wall.

  • 23 May 2015 – Crikey editor Bernard Kene tweeted “SSM harming children? my goodness you’re a nauseating piece of filth, @LyleShelton @ACLobby”

  • 23 May 2015 – Stephen Jones MP tweeted “@LyleShelton @ACLobby I’m sure there is an audience for this half baked bigotry but it is a long way from the gospel that I believe in”

  • Washington State, US: Barronelle Stutzmann politely declined a request from long term friends and clients to provide flowers for their gay wedding.  She explained her desire not to be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding because of her conscientious convictions. The Washington State Attorney-General sued her along with the couple and won.

  • Colorado US: Baker Jack Philips declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding and was ordered to “cease and desist” from discriminating against same-sex couples and provide anti-discrimination re-education for his staff.

  • Boston MA, US: Catholic Charities were forced to shut down after the state’s redefinition of marriage meant they would have been forced to provide adoption services to same-sex parents.

  • Vermont US: Catholic innkeepers were sued after declining to host a wedding reception for two lesbians.

  • New Mexico: Photographer found guilty of unlawful discrimination by Human Rights Commission for declining to photograph a lesbian ‘commitment ceremony’. The photographer was ordered to pay $6,000

  • Illinois: Bed and breakfast owners facing lawsuit for refusing to host a civil union ceremony.