Australian PM pulls out of ACL conference over ‘smoking healthier than being gay’ commentTop Highlights, Breaking News Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has cancelled her speaking engagement at the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) national conference following ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace’s statement that smoking is healthier than a homosexual lifestyle.
LGBTweekly.com reported yesterday that Wallace made these remarks in a debate on gay marriage with Green leader Christine Milne at the University of Tasmania LawFest in Hobart.
Wallace, a strong opponent of same-sex marriage said, “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. 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.”
Gillard, who also opposes same-sex marriage responded in a statement, “I believe yesterday’s comments by Jim Wallace were 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.
Although everyone is entitled to their own view, these statements reiterated again today on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable. In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate.”
Wallace said the decision would come as a deep disappointment to Australia’s Christian constituency.
“This is a victory for the relentless campaign of demonization against anyone who would challenge the gay activists’ agenda in the public square.”
Wallace said at no stage did he say that “smoking is healthier than gay marriage”, as reported by some media.
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