Yesterday Lyle Shelton of fringe religious group the Australian Christian Lobby falsely claimed that Canberra’s same-sex marriage advocates did not agree with churches being exempt from performing same-sex weddings, according to Equal Love Canberra.
He reportedly said that Equal Love representative Ivette Madrid told ABC radio on July 29 that her organisation disagreed with protections for religious freedom.
She said, “The churches will be discriminating on the basis of gender and so I don’t think that should be allowed at all. We have human rights legislation and so they are willing to bypass that.”
Madrid today said the ACL had distorted and misrepresented her position. Equal Love calls for federal, territory and state legislation that gives lesbians, gays, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people the same right to marry the partners of their choice as heterosexuals, she said, but,
“Contrary to the impression the Australian Christian Lobby is trying to create, we do not want legislation that forces marriage celebrants or church officials to marry anyone. It is up to them to decide over whose marriages they officiate.
“The proposed ACT legislation will finally allow the many ministers of religion in Canberra who support marriage equality the freedom to “opt-in” and celebrate the love and commitment of members of their communities with dignity and respect. That’s an excellent model for other Australian jurisdictions.”
Equal Love said that Madrid’s comments on local radio were entirely in accord with this position. She was speaking against the religious exemptions to human rights legislation that permit discrimination by church organisations on the basis of gender in their non-religious activities.
Equal Love Canberra will hold another rally to demand federal legislation for equal marriage and to support changes proposed in the ACT Government’s bill on the 5 of October 2013 at 1 PM in Petrie Plaza.