Greenwich ‘condemns’ Christian Lobby, introduces motion
Sydney MP Alex Greenwich will later today introduce a motion in NSW Parliament that “condemns” the Australian Christian Lobby’s attacks on the gay community which he hopes will lead to more politicians distancing themselves from the right-wing, anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian group.
The motion to be introduced into the lower house by Greenwich will take particular aim at ACL chief Jim Wallace’s bizarre and unfounded claims last September that the “gay lifestyle” was more dangerous to one’s health than smoking.
“I give notice that … I shall move that this house,” the motion reads.
“1) Condemns the Australian Christian Lobby for stating that smoking is healthier than being gay and comparing Gay and Lesbian advocates to Nazis;
“2) Notes that the majority of Christians support equality for gay and lesbian Australians; and
“3) Notes that Australia is a secular country which separates Church and State.”
The Independent MP and former Australian Marriage Equality convener, who last week became the first sitting NSW politician to fly a pride flag inside their parliamentary offices, told SX that his motion would provide his colleagues with a good opportunity to consider the aims and goals of an organisation fast resembling a fringe group.
“I hope my colleagues support this motion and use it as an opportunity to distance themselves from a group that has become increasingly extreme and alarmist,” he said.
“The Australian Christian Lobby has misrepresented the views of Australia’s Christian community for far too long and it is time their credibility was challenged.”
In a debate against Greens leader Christine Milne at the University of Tasmania, Wallace had used figures based on a discredited decades-old survey of obituaries in San Francisco newspapers to argue that parents should tell their children not to be gay as it was unhealthier than smoking.
“I think we’re going to owe smokers a big apology when the homosexual community’s own statistics for its health - which it presents when it wants more money for health - are that is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years,” he told the audience.
“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.”
The resulting widespread outrage led to Prime Minister Julia Gillard sensationally withdrawing from giving the keynote address to the national conference of the Australian Christian Lobby having only been announced a month earlier as a guest of the event.
“I believe [the] comments by Jim Wallace were offensive,” Gillard said at the time.
“To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.”
The comments also provoked criticism from GPs, mental health professionals, a host of politicians and celebrities as well as social media users.