6 July 2015

Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson’s call for freedom of conscience to be protected is welcome but does not meet the social justice objections to redefining marriage, the Australian Christian Lobby said today.

“It is good that Mr Wilson wants to avoid the overseas experience where florists, cake makers, photographers and wedding chapel owners are being hauled before courts and punished with fines for their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.

“ACL sincerely thanks Mr Wilson for his good faith in recognising that millions of Australians will always believe the timeless definition of marriage and that they should be shielded from legal action for publicly manifesting their beliefs.

“We also thank him for recognising that this is not bigotry or motivated by animus against anyone in our community. We have been distressed by the slurs and demonisation of us. It is possible to disagree on public policy and still have good will towards others.”

Mr Shelton said he hoped Mr Wilson would now encourage the same-sex marriage activists to stop trying to make it illegal for faith-based schools to provide information to their communities about marriage.

“It is now necessary for New South Wales Independent MP Alex Greenwich and Australian Marriage Equality head Rodney Croome to cease their campaign against existing protections for religious freedom in anti-discrimination law.”

Despite Mr Wilson’s genuine good will, Mr Shelton said there was nothing in same-sex marriage proposals to protect thrights of children to have a relationship with their biological parents.

“It is not possible to separate a public policy debate about marriage from discussion about the consequences for children.

“The same-sex marriage debate is driving a push to further liberalise surrogacy and Assisted Human Reproductive Services laws which exploit women and require children to miss out on their mother or father,” Mr Shelton said.

“This is the main objection to changing the definition of marriage.

“There is no discrimination in Australian law against same-sex couples but changing the definition of marriage changes the definition of family and discriminates against children conceived through donor conception and surrogacy,” Mr Shelton said.