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Finance minister condemns Australian Christian Lobby’s ‘bigotry’

Finance minister condemns Australian Christian Lobby’s ‘bigotry’

Australia’s finance minister Penny Wong has slammed the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) for comparing the children of gay couples to the ‘stolen generations’ of aboriginal children who were taken from their families.

‘Redefining marriage ignore[s] the consequence of robbing children of their biological identity through same-sex surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies,’ said ACL’s managing director Lyle Shelton yesterday.

Wong, who has a one-year-old daughter with her partner Sophie Allouache and is a practicing Christian, said:

‘This sort of bigotry really has no place in modern Australia… Regardless of his [Shelton’s] views on marriage equality, same-sex families exist and we have children, and our children are loved and our children are cherished and they deserve far more than the peddling of prejudice we’ve seen from [the ACL].’

Aboriginal affairs minister Ian Hunter, who married his partner Leith Semmens in Spain last year, said Shelton’s comments were ‘appalling misjudgment’ and ‘insensitive’.

Reverend Ben Gilmour from LGBT-inclusive Paddington Uniting Church in Sydney said Shelton’s words were ‘abusive’ and he challenged ACL’s assertion that they speak for all Christians.

‘I think that that kind of statement really victimizes any child who may not have been brought up in a heterosexual marriage,’ Gilmour said.

‘I would say there are lots of Christians who do not support the ACL. My community in Paddington would say they don’t support it.’

Yesterday a representative for the stolen generations, Pastor Ray Minniecon CEO of Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation, said:

‘The assimilation policy of forced removal of children from there homes and the subsequent abuse of those children is no way comparable to the desire of a loving couple to have a child and have their relationship recognized.’

The ACL released their offending statement in response to the news that former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd now supports same-sex marriage, the second Australian former political leader to do so after Bob Hawke (Labor prime minister 1983-1991).

Rudd called for opposition leader Tony Abbott to allow his MPs a conscience vote on the issue and said that if he didn’t there should be a national referendum on same-sex marriage.

‘Given Mr Abbott’s continued refusal to embrace a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, Australia should now consider holding a referendum on this question at an appropriate time during the next term,’ he said, The Australian reports. ‘This enables all Australians to have their say on same-sex marriage.’

Australian Marriage Equality do not support holding referendum on same-sex marriage.

‘We fear cashed-up opponents of marriage equality would exploit a referendum to polarize the electorate and demonize gay and lesbian people in a way that will impact badly, particularly on young gay people,’ said national convener Rodney Croome last month.