The Chronicle, Tara Miko
IF THE majority of eligible Australian voters support changing the definition of marriage, Lyle Shelton will not change his belief only a man and woman can marry each other. He expects the Federal Government to “reflect the will of the Australian people” and introduce a bill into parliament allowing same-sex couple to marry.
“I will always believe the truth about marriage,” the head of the Australian Christian Lobby said.
“We will have to accept the democratic decision. Just like when we decided that unborn babies didn’t have human rights, it doesn’t mean it is true.”
Mr Shelton grew up in conservative Toowoomba and moved to the nation’s capital a decade ago. He said that made it hard to comment on how the Garden City felt about the coming postal survey but urged “all my friends in Toowoomba” to have their say next month.
“Obviously I’m keen to see the definition of marriage retained and not changed,” he said.
“If it changes that will affect freedom of speech and freedom of religion; people won’t be free to say what they really believe about marriage unless they conform to the new laws.
“It will be almost impossible to stop programs like the Safe Schools program which teaches gender is fluid.”
Safe Schools was designed as an anti-bullying program to support young LGBTI students, and guide schools on sexuality and sexual health education. The ACL, and Mr Shelton, have campaigned extensively against the program’s roll-out in schools including at a pre-emptive rally in the ACT last weekend. The ACL is building a $10 million Coalition for Marriage “battle fund” to “inform as many Australians as possible about the risks” of redefining marriage. Among the concerns was “redefining marriage will take away children’s rights – every child deserves a mum and a dad”.
“Loss of freedom and Safe Schools are direct consequences to redefining marriage,” Mr Shelton said.
“We already have effectively got civil unions in every state in Australia.
“If you change the definition of marriage then you change forever what people are free to believe about marriage and say about it.”
Mr Shelton said “several eggs” were thrown at the ACL’s head office this week and “the office was also bombed” last December. Police said the man intended to self-harm but Mr Shelton is adamant it was a “gay activist”. The voluntary postal survey, he said, “doesn’t mean it is less legitimate” than compulsory polls, though he preferred a mandatory vote.
“I hope the people who are agitating for change, should they lose, accept the result,” he said.
He said it was unlikely and, similarly should the yes vote be returned, it would not change his views and beliefs.
“There will be big consequences,” he said.
“The point about this is it gives every Australian a chance to have their say.”