Christian group creates legal fund for objectors to marriage equality

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Christian groups have established a legal fund to help objectors to marriage equality fight potential law suits should they break anti-discrimination laws in the future.

Butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, limousine drivers, florists, wedding invitation calligraphy writers and other professionals who choose to deny service to same sex couples will be able to call on the new fund to help pay their legal bills if they fall on the wrong side of the law.

The fund has been set up by the Australian Christian Lobby is called the The Human Rights Law Alliance and it’s remarkably similar to a similar program in the USA called the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The new fund is managed by Martin Iles the former chief of staff of the Australian Christian Lobby. Iles told The Sydney Morning Herald  that there was great concern that if marriage equality is achieved in Australia many businesses would need financial assistance if they wanted to exercise their personal beliefs.

The Canberra based lawyer said conscientious objection was different to prejudice.

“If there’s a sign in the window that says ‘no gays’, they’re on their own,” Iles said.

The Australian Christian Lobby has previously called for anti-discrimination laws to be suspended during any plebiscite campaign over the issue of same sex marriage and has argued that any legislation that permits marriage equality must also include wide ranging provisions for those who do not believe in the concept.

The organisation is currently a department within the Australian Christian Lobby but the plan is to register it as a stand alone charity in the future.

Overseas there has been several high profile cases where businesses have refused to serve gay couples wanting to get married, these have included florists, cake decorators and venues.

The fund will not only assist those opposed to marriage equality. One of the first cases the new body has taken on is assisting Kathy Clubb, a mother of 13 who was arrested for approaching women near an abortion clinic in Melbourne. Victorian law prohibits protesters against abortion from being within 150 metres of a clinic offering abortion services.

The ACL has said cases involving the controversial racism law section 18C will also benefit from the new fund.

OIP Staff



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