Australian Christian Leader Says Smoking Healthier Than Being Gay

Remarks by Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Jim Wallace at a debate with Green party leader Christine Milne at the University of Tasmania today are inspiring anger from LGBT advocates, The Age reports:

WallaceAnswering 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.

"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."

After the debate, Mr Wallace said the figures saddened him.

"But what I'm saying is we need to be aware that the homosexual lifestyle carries these problems and … normalising the lifestyle by the attribution of marriage, for instance, has to be considered in what it does encouraging people into it," he said.

Tasmania came one step closer to passing marriage equality last week when its lower house approved the measure.