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Same-sex marriage not a vote winner

By Lyle Shelton - posted Monday, 9 September 2013


None of the election commentary I have heard in the past 24 hours has mentioned the role played by one of the most prominent of Kevin Rudd's campaign issues.

At the first leaders' debate, Mr Rudd surprisingly catapulted same-sex marriage to front and centre of the campaign promising to legislate within 100 days of being elected.

He was asked about it at the second debate, a 'peoples' forum' in Brisbane. Instead of addressing the question he went straight to what he must have begun to realise was a big vulnerability for him on the subject – religious freedom.

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Even though the questioner made no mention of religion, Rudd's reply was all about how churches would be exempt from providing "marriage equality" by way of church weddings for same-sex couples.

Those of us who have been following this debate in the small number of countries overseas who have gone down this path are well aware of the vulnerabilities to religious freedom that same-sex marriage has opened up.

It is clear that the idea that churches and people of conscience will be exempt from "marriage equality" ideology is fanciful.

That Rudd could be so naïve about this and other consequences of changing the definition of marriage is testament to the power of the simplistic campaign being run by same-sex marriage advocates which have captured large swathes of the Labor Party.

But despite being a centre-piece election promise, same-sex marriage didn't rate a mention by Rudd at Labor's launch the week before polling day.

However, he did bring it up again last Monday in a special video message played at ACL's election webcast to the Christian constituency.

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In it he admitted he had disappointed Christians by changing his position on marriage. His tone was muted and conciliatory.

However, by 10:30pm it was a very different Rudd bullying pastor Matt Prater on ABC1's Q&A.

Suddenly same-sex marriage was front and centre again for the remainder of the last week of the campaign.

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About the Author

Lyle Shelton is Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby based in Canberra.

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