Mr Wallace made his comments during a debate with The Greens leader Senator Christine Milne. The two idealogically oposed leaders were facing each other off at the Unviersity of Tasmania.
Mr Wallace’s comments came after a student asked him to defend his views. He is reported to have answered,
‘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.’
‘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.’
After the debate Mr Wallace is said to have confirmed his position,
‘But what I’m saying is we need to be aware that the homosexual lifestyle carries these problems and … normalising the lifestyle by the attribution of marriage, for instance, has to be considered in what it does encouraging people into it.’
‘We have to accept the unfortunate levels of suicide, the unfortunate levels of excessive drug use (are) because of the nature of the lifestyle.
‘I am very sorry for that. My heart goes out to those people. But it is a fact.’
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich condemned the comments, in a statement Mr Grenwich said,
‘Jim Wallace has made it clear that the Christian Lobby is basing their campaign against equality on fear rather than facts.
‘To salvage what limited creditably he has left, Mr Wallace should apologise for the damage that such extreme comments would have on vulnerable gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people.’
Tasmanian activist Rodney Croome described Mr Wallace’s comments as ‘desperate’.
‘Yes, there are health problems in parts of the gay and lesbian community, but they are caused by the prejudice of people like Mr Wallace and the discriminatory laws he defends.’ said Mr Croome.
Mr Croome highlighted that representatives of the Australian Chrisitan Lobby have previously linked gay equality to Nazis, paedophiles and the stolen generation and highlighted that between January and June 2012 the group have made over 120 statements condeming equality for gay, lesbian and trangender Australians, while saying virtually nothing about poverty or homelessness.
Mr Grenwich joined a growing number of activists, who have criticised the recent annoucement that the Prime Minister would be speaking at the Australian Christian Lobby’s conference,
‘For the sake of the many proud LGBTI members of the Labor Party, the Prime Minister should seriously reconsider giving this increasingly extreme group any credibility.’