Australian PM Julia Gillard Pulls Out of Event Over Christian Leader’s Anti-Gay Remarks About Smoking

Yesterday I posted remarks made by Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace, who said during a debate in Tasmania that smoking is healthier than being gay.

WallaceSaid Wallace:

"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. 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."

The remarks have cause Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to pull out of an ACL event.

GillardSaid Gillard:

''To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong. Although everyone is entitled to their own view, these statements reiterated again today on behalf of ACL are totally unacceptable. 'In light of this, I believe my attendance at the conference would be inappropriate. There are a range of deeply held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make.''

Wallace responded to Gillard's move by claiming anti-gay activists/Christians are the real victims:

"This is a victory for the relentless campaign of demonisation against anyone who would challenge the gay activists' agenda in the public square."