By CARL KATTER
Finally, reason and leadership prevail.
I was greatly disappointed when, earlier this year, the Prime Minister confirmed she would be making the keynote speech at the Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) national conference.
There are a few reasons why the news left me so very disappointed.
The ACL are fundamentally an extreme fringe organisation whose sole purpose is to facilitate and perpetuate hate against a small minority group: the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community; a community that has had a long struggle throughout modern history to gain the basic rights that others in our society take for granted.
To the majority of moderate and progressive Christians, the ACL are irrelevant but this does not stop them from facilitating the misconception that they represent all Australian Christians.
Let’s be clear, this is a group that is exclusively motivated by hate. They have no other agenda than that of denigrating, stigmatising and perpetuating a broad range of lies and hate fuelled dogma directed at the LGBTI community.
Now, back to the Prime Minister and her speech.
Yesterday, the ACL’s Managing Director Mr Jim Wallace made the startling – and nonsensical – claim that homosexuality was as dangerous to your health as smoking.
The Australian reports:
Mr Wallace said smokers were owed “a big apology” as the lifespan of a gay male was reduced by up to 20 years, half that of a smoker.
“The life of smokers is reduced by something like seven to 10 years and yet we tell all our kids at school they shouldn’t smoke,” he said.
Not surprisingly for reasonable people everywhere, this is another damaging, wrong and unfounded statement from a right wing fringe group.
There has been a history now of the ACL quoting irrelevant and biased studies to stigmatise gay Australians. This is indicative of their desperation.
Almost immediately, in response to Jim Wallace’s outrageous claims, the Prime Minister withdrew her attendance at the ACL’s conference.
Prime Minister Gillard said in a statement that:
”To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.
Although everyone is entitled to their own view, these statements reiterated again today on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable.
In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate.
There are a range of deeply held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make.”
At the end of the day any objection to marriage equality is blatant discrimination; that is, the presumption that one group of people are more entitled to rights than another group of people
Now I know that the Prime Minister still does not support marriage equality but this is a positive move. Maybe our Prime Minister’s views are evolving? And I am a strong believer in supporting those who support equality for all, or who are making the steps to get there.
So today I thank all reasonable Australians who have started the educational path to understanding and accepting our LGBTI brothers and sisters.
The aspiration to live in a harmonious, progressive and equal society is an admirable one. When one opens their heart to all, they are the ones who truly reap the rewards.
Such a comment may sound a little similar to those preached by a dude named Jesus over 2,000 years ago, maybe our friends at the ACL need a reminder of the teachings of this guy as well.
Carl Robert Katter is a board member of Australian Marriage Equality and lobbyist for equal rights for LGBTI Australians. Carl grew up in North Queensland and is the son of the late MP Bob Katter Snr. You can follow him on twitter at: @carlkatter
Do you think the Prime Minister made the right decision to pull out of the ACL Conference? If you are Christian, do the ACL and Jim Wallace speak for you?
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