Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard may have finally found out just who her anti-marriage stance has aligned her with. Gillard pulled out of speaking to the Australian Christian Lobby at their national conference after their leader, basically, called the “homosexual lifestyle” more dangerous to health than smoking. Jim Wallace, the director of the group, made the statement during a debate on same-sex marriage in Tasmania.
Gillard stated that “These statements … on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable.” She also called the comments offensive and said ”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.”
She went on to say:
”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.”
Of course, Wallace blamed the media stating that Gillard’s decision was based upon “inaccurate media reporting and misrepresentation by gay activists.” He also called her decision disappointing and stated ”This is a victory for the relentless campaign of demonisation against anyone who would challenge the gay activists’ agenda in the public square. . .What I did say is that heterosexual sex and homosexual sex are different and have different health consequences. . .They should not be packaged the same way as marriage because, as just one of many reasons, they are different. . .If we warn against smoking because it carries health dangers, we should also be warning young people in particular about activity which clearly carries health risks.”
Which is, basically, inaccurate, incorrect, and the equivalent of saying that gay sex is more dangerous than smoking. Strictly speaking, sex between two women has tended to result in fewer STD infections, but the focus out of men like Wallace has tended to be on sex between men. While the dynamics of STD infection is different between gay male couples and straight couples, over all, any sexual activity where fluids are exchanged carry risks.
The Australian Rainbow Labor Network, a Labor Party aligned LGBT group, congratulated Gillard on her decision and Alex Greenwich, the Australian Marriage Equality convener, thanked Gillard for ”for so strongly rejecting the extremism of the Australian Christian Lobby.”
Steve Hambleton, the president of the Australian Medical Association, called Wallace’s comments appalling and inappropriate. According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
He said many of the poor health outcomes seen in the gay community were due to discrimination, and if discrimination was removed, health outcomes would improve. A bill to legalise same-sex marriage is before federal Parliament and a vote is expected before the end of the year.
Gillard is opposed to same-sex marriage, and a bill currently being introduced to the Parliament is likely to fail because of her alignment with anti-marriage groups like the ACL.