The Australian Christian Lobby has said that Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to withdraw from speaking at an ACL conference because she took offense to a comment on homosexuality made by the group’s leader will be seen as an “abandonment of the Christian constituency.”
ACL’s leader Jim Wallace compared the negative effects of smoking to same-sex marriage during a debate on marriage equality at the University of Tasmania on Wednesday, AFP shared.
“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 it has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years,” Wallace 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,” he added.
In response to these remarks, Gillard, who is an atheist, said on Thursday that she is canceling her plans to speak at the ACL conference in Canberra on Oct. 5 and 6, deeming that Wallace’s comparison had been too “offensive.”
“To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong,” Gillard said in a statement on Thursday. “In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate.”
Actually, as an atheist, her attendance was inappropriate in the first place; don’t know why she was invited…