Australian Christian Lobby faces more protests as it tours the country

The Australian Christian Lobby has faced more protests this week as it wrapped up it tour regional centres in Western Australia and headed to Tasmania.

Following a peaceful protest at the group’s Perth event, ACL leader Martyn Iles faced more protesters when he delivered his The Truth Of It talk in Bunbury earlier this week.

Cassandra Hymers, the co-chair of local LGBTQ+ organisation Out South West spoke to the ABC and highlighted the lobby group’s long running campaigns against the LGBTIQA+ communities.

“They have often pushed for laws that would harm us or oppose laws that actually give us equality,” Hymers said.

“They live in such a world that they’re so immersed and indoctrinated, they have to be right.

“Because if they’re not, if there’s one thing wrong with their beliefs, their entire world will collapse around them.”

The lobby group was also greeted by protesters outside it’s Geraldton event on Wednesday evening.

OUTMidWest representative Sara Walker told The West Australian she was “disappointed” by the decision to allow the ACL to hold the event at the venue, owned by the City of Greater Geraldton, but saw it as an opportunity to start a debate.

“I think what is important is there are now discussions happening around it, and not just in Geraldton but in a number of other towns as well,” she said.

Samantha Bentink said the purpose of OUTMidWest’s presence was to provide support to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We are standing with our community, just bringing attention to the fact that the messages coming from the ACL are that LGBTQIA+ people are broken and need fixing, that there is something inherently wrong with them,” she said.

“Fine if that is your belief, but as soon as that starts affecting people in the community and has the potential to cause real harm like increased rates of suicide and mental illness, we need to be standing up for those who can’t.”

The Australian Christian Lobby’s State Director Peter Abetz told the newspaper that LGBTIQA+ advocates were attempting to redefine what constitutes conversion therapy, arguing that churches must have a right to teach traditional Christian values regarding sexuality.

More Protests expected in Tasmania

The Christian lobby group will face more protests as it heads to Tasmania this week with events scheduled in Launceston  on 30th August,and Hobart on the 4th September.

Local rights advocates say it’s clear the theme of the ACL meetings will be opposition to Tasmania’s landmark Anti-Discrimination Act, in particular section 17, which prohibits intimidating and humiliating conduct.

Alison Jales from Launceston said the viewpoint of the ACL was not representative of her local community.

Launceston is a community which embraces diversity and inclusivity. We thrive on respect, empathy, tolerance and equality and believe in protecting all of our community members to ensure they feel safe and valued.

“Diminishing the power of section 17 makes many members of our community, including those with disabilities and LGBTIQA+ members, vulnerable to being offended, humiliated, intimidated, insulted and ridiculed.

Craig Hislop from the Pride Society of the University of Tasmania said the lobby group promoted discrimination.

“At a time when we need to all work together against a global pandemic it’s mind-boggling that the ACL wants to foster division and discrimination.”

Veteran gay rights campaigner Rodney Croome from Equality Tasmania said Tasmanians would not be in favour of any watering down of the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

“Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act has fostered a more inclusive and equal society and we are determined to defend it from those who want to water it down.” Croome said.

OIP Staff

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