Equal Love Melbourne released the statement below on September 6.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has succumbed to the pressure to cancel her appearance as keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) conference. The announcement was made following homophobic comments from the ACL’s managing director Jim Wallace, and at the same time as thousands of equality supporters were preparing to descend on Canberra [on October 6] to protest the event.
Equal Love Melbourne convenor Ali Hogg said: “While Equal Love welcomes the cancellation, we maintain that PM Gillard never should have accepted the invitation in the first place. These latest homophobic comments from Jim Wallace are just the most recent in a long line of offensive remarks directed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGTBI) people. It’s inconceivable that Gillard was unaware of these comments when she accepted the invitation.
"If the PM wants to show that she really is concerned about homophobia and the struggles LGBTI people face, she should end all state sanctioned discrimination, including when it comes to marriage rights. It is in her government’s power to do this. All that needs to happen is that she makes the ALP’s pro-equality policy binding on MPs. There is no reason that this policy should be treated differently than any other, except that Gillard wants to keep bigots like Jim Wallace on side.
"The overwhelming majority of public opinion is in support of full equal rights. It is time Gillard cut all ties with anti-gay groups like the ACL and legislated for full equality. That’s what the majority of ALP members want, and that’s what the majority of Australians want.”