To: Prime Minister Julia Gillard

PM Gillard: meet with Christians for marriage equality

PM Gillard: meet with Christians for marriage equality

Dear Prime Minister,

The ACL does not represent all Christians' views on marriage equality. If you must speak at the conference for these outspoken opponents of equality, please finally agree to meet with Christians who support ending marriage discrimination.

Why is this important?

The Prime Minister has accepted an invitation to give the keynote at the Australian Christian Lobby's (ACL) conference in October, yet has repeatedly refused to meet with members of my community - Christians who support ending marriage discrimination. I'm disappointed that the PM is ignoring the other side of this issue.

My name is Rev. Carolyn Francis. I've been a Baptist minister for 10 years and have worked with people in same sex relationships, their families and friends. Recognising and celebrating their relationships and families is important. At the very heart of my faith are values of love, compassion and inclusion. For me, that means being able to celebrate loving, faithful relationships, no matter who is in them.

The recent Australian census found that 40% of gay couples identify as Christian: same-sex couples are already present within Christian communities, and as a pastor my care for those people is fundamental to my work.

That the ACL uses the vocabulary of my faith in a way which is degrading to people whose relationships are as loving and valuable as any other, is deeply concerning to me. A recent poll found that 53% of Australian Christians are in favour of marriage equality. The ACL has made it their main business speaking out against marriage equality, yet don't represent the majority of Christians.

ACL's ongoing focus on issues relating to sexuality is not consistent with priorities of scripture or the Christian faith more broadly, yet Julia Gillard is giving their hurtful rhetoric towards same-sex couples legitimacy by speaking at their conference.