Sydney archibishop re-ignites ACL gay health controversy
Though Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) chief Jim Wallace may not have found too much support for his controversial claim that smoking was healthier than the “gay lifestyle” it seems he has one reliable ally in Dr Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.
The remarks by Wallace last week during a debate on marriage equality in Tasmania were quickly and loudly criticised by a wide cross spectrum of the community, including doctors, mental health experts and politicians.
The comments which many labelled offensive even resulted in Prime Minister Julia Gillard declaring Wallace to be “heartless and wrong” and deciding to pull out of a delivering the keynote address to the ACL’s national conference early next month.
Appearing on ABC TV’s Q&A last night, Dr Jensen (pictured) however seemed to agree with Wallace’s views on gay health after he was asked by a studio audience member whether he supported the comments.
Dr Jensen, like Wallace an opponent of marriage equality, said he was “generally supportive” of the ACL and that an “opportunity to talk about something significant” had been provided.
“It’s very hard to get to the facts here because we don’t want to talk about it and in this country censorship is alive and well,” he said.
“As far as I can see ... the lifespan of practicing gays is significantly shorter than the ordinary so-called heterosexual man. That seems to be the case.
“What we need to do is to look at why this may be the case and we need to do it in a compassionate and objective way.”
Dr Jensen then seemed to suggest he was aware that the views he held on sexuality could be a factor for some young queer people to attempt suicide.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said he would be contacting Dr Jensen to seek an apology.
“Although we have come to expect extreme anti-gay statement from the Australian Christian Lobby, for a religious leader like Archbishop Jensen to make such cruel claims is a betrayal of his duty of care to his parishioners, especially those who are gay or have gay friends and family members,” Greenwich said.
Labor Senator Trish Crossin, who is a co-sponsor of one of the four marriage equality bills currently before Federal Parliament, told reporters in Canberra today that she found Dr Jensen’s comments grossly insensitive.
“Particularly for people who have smoked, who have developed cancer as a result of that, and (for) loved ones who have lost families,” she said.
- Tags: ABC Television, Alex Greenwich, Anglican Church, Australian Christian Lobby, Australian Marriage Equality, Blaze, Christianity, Health, Jim Wallace, Julia Gillard, LGBTI Health, Marriage Equality, MCV, Mental Health, Peter Jensen, Q&A, Queensland Pride, Religion, Same-Sex Marriage, Smoking, SX, Trish Crossin