Claims today by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to the legalisation of polygamy have been slammed by activists as a desperate scare tactic.

The Australian reports this morning on moves by the ACL to step-up its opposition to the marriage equality debate.

An online petition pushing for the current definition of marriage in the Marriage Act to be retained has also been established as part of the fight against the growing tide of support for marriage equality reforms in Australia..

ACL claims if marriage is redefined, as it has been in Canada, “the next push will be for marriage to include polygamous relationships, as is currently being tested in a court in Canada”.

Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said polygamy has not been legalised in any of the countries which allow same-sex couples to marry.

“In Australia the definition of marriage is quite clear — it is a loving committed union freely entered into by two people, something which can easily encompass same-sex partners but which is fundamentally different from polygamy which is usually one man marrying and lording it over several women,” he said.

“By using a desperate scare-tactic like the threat of polygamy, the Australian Christian Lobby is showing it has no real case against allowing same-sex couples to marry.”

Greenwich said he was disappointed the Christian Lobby had yet to reciprocate the commitment made by his group to a respectful and mature debate on marriage equality, and has instead condoned hatred.

“We stand by our pledge to conduct this important public debate with respect and call on opponents of reform to do the same,” Greenwich said.

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