The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has been caught out using false claims to argue that marriage equality will impact on religious freedom after it claimed that Denmark had legislated to force all churches to marry same-sex couples.
“Australian Parliamentarians would be naive to think [that] activists will not target the church here after Denmark’s Parliament finally caved into their demands for church weddings,” the ACL’s managing director Jim Wallace said.
“Homosexual weddings will occur in Danish churches from next week after the Danish Parliament passed a law forcing all churches to perform them.”
“It is time politicians saw beyond the propaganda of the homosexual activists’ campaign and realised there are far-reaching consequences for freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the rights of children if the Marriage Act is changed.”
In fact the Danish Parliament only legislated to allow same-sex church marriages within the Danish National Church, the country’s official state religion, and even its pastors will not have to marry couples against their will.
A majority of Danish National Church clergy supported the reform and non-Danish National Church churches and non-Christian religions in Denmark were unaffected by the change.
Australian Marriage Equality (AME) national convenor Alex Greenwich dismissed the claim that religious celebrants could be forced to marry same-sex couples in Australia.
"The safeguards in Australia are very strong with proposed legislation providing religious celebrants with an exemption and a recent motion from [independent MP] Andrew Wilkie confirming this exemption being passed by the House of Representatives."
The Australian Marriage Act already allows religious celebrants to refuse to wed heterosexual couples for any reason they see fit.
A recent study of the ACL's activity found that it had spoken out against LGBT rights 122 times in the last six months - dwarfing all other issues it campaigned on. The next closest issue, prostitution and human trafficing, only rated a mention 25 times.
Wallace, a former brigadier in the Australian special forces, has previously claimed that gay men were mostly to blame for paedophilia within the churches.