12th September, 2013

A referendum should be used to decide the definition of marriage in Australia, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Speaking after a report in The Australian today suggested former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was being 'urged' to sponsor a same-sex marriage bill in federal parliament, Lyle Shelton, managing director of the ACL, said in a statement it shouldn't be up to politicians to change a law that would impact so heavily on freedom of speech, belief and religion.

"The far-reaching consequences of changing the definition of marriage mean a conscience vote of the Australian people, not politicians, is what is needed," he said.

The ACL claims moves by the ACT and New South Wales parliaments to introduce legislation in favor of same-sex marriage meant Australia "risked having a hodgepodge of marriage laws when in reality the marriage power resided with the Commonwealth".

In the lead-up to the federal election last week, former Attorney-General Robert McClelland and former deputy prime minister John Anderson both called for a constitutional referendum on the matter during the ACL's election panel webcast.

Meanwhile, the ACL have said that the stance of Mr Rudd - who came out in support of same-sex marriage before the election - didn't win any votes for Labor.

But the ALP's national secretary, George Wright, has reportedly said the former PM's stance on the issue didn't do any damage to him or the Labor Party at the election.

~ www.acl.org.au

- DAVID ADAMS