Wednesday, February 9, 2011
A desperate scare tactic is what the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) latest campaign against legalising same-sex marriage has been labelled by equality advocates.
Earlier this week, ACL launched an online petition to maintain the federal prohibition against same-sex couples being recognised under the Marriage Act.
ACL claims if the law is changed to include same-sex couples, “the next push will be for marriage to include polygamous relationships, as is currently being tested in a court in Canada”, The Australian reported on Monday.
At the same time, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett (pictured) started a petition calling on the Senate to maintain the current definition of marriage exclusively between a man and a woman.
Greens sexuality and gender identity spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young responded quickly to Barnett’s move saying “the conservative side of politics remains stuck in the past on this important issue”.
“My Marriage Equality Bill remains a priority for the Greens and I will continue to campaign for a conscience vote on this important issue during this parliamentary year.
“My petition – calling on Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott to allow Labor and Liberal members a conscience vote on marriage equality – already has more than 12,400 signatures, but there is room for many more,” Hanson-Young said in a statement.
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich hit back at the ACL claims saying polygamy had not been legalised in any of the country’s that lawfully recognise same-sex marriage.
“In Australia, the definition of marriage is quite clear – it is a loving committed union freely entered into by two people, something which can easily encompass same-sex partners but which is fundamentally different from polygamy which is usually one man marrying and lording it over several women.
“By using a desperate scare-tactic like the threat of polygamy, the Australian Christian Lobby is showing it has not real case against allowing same-sex couples to marry,” he said in a statement.
IBM and ANZ recently withdrew sponsorship from the web site On Line Opinion following a post that called for homosexuals to be murdered in light of the same-sex marriage debate.
ACL is understood to have questioned both corporate sponsors over their decision to pull advertising labelling it corporate censorship.
“We stand by our pledge to conduct this important public debate with respect and call on opponents of reform to do the same,” Greenwich said.
The debate around On Line Opinion also ignited passionate sentiments on the queer forum Ausqueer with several members writing directly to ACL asking to place advertisements in support of same-sex marriage to contrast its claim of corporate censorship.
In a terse response ACL’s chief of staff, Lyle Shelton wrote: “I think you would have a point if we purported to be an independent media outlet as On Line Opinion is … That is what a free press is for but it can be corrupted by the tactics of those who do not share the values of an open and tolerant society.”
Meanwhile, Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull is the latest federal politician to survey his constituents’ views on same-sex marriage.
To take part in his survey visit malcolmturnbull.com.au/same-sex-marriage-survey.