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The head of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Jim Wallace says smoking is healthier than the lifestyle that would be promoted by same-sex marriage.
Mr Wallace made the claim in a debate on marriage equality with Greens leader Christine Milne at the University of Tasmania on Wednesday. Answering a question from a student on the relevance of his views, he said health statistics among the gay community were worse than those for smokers. "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 is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years," he told the audience.
Mr Wallace said legalising same-sex marriage in other countries had not reduced risk factors for gay people.
"Where gay marriage has been introduced, or civil unions, it hasn't changed the level of suicide," he said.
"We have to accept the unfortunate levels of suicide, the unfortunate levels of excessive drug use (are) because of the nature of the lifestyle. "I am very sorry for that. My heart goes out to those people. But it is a fact."
Senator Milne accused the ACL of homophobia and said Christians should be more concerned with poverty than homosexuality.
Mr Wallace accused the Greens of demonising churches with "hate language" and caring more for trees than children.
He described gay activism as "bullying" and said a climate had been created for "legislation by fatigue".
LOL this guy is an absolute joke.
Has he thought about the possibility that the suicide/drug taking rate is higher because they had a real struggle over the past few decades to be accepted?. . .
Easy to say they have higher health costs, I'd like to know why though.