The Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton has warned that ‘no’ campaigners won’t stop fighting against marriage equality in the event of a ‘yes’ win.

Shelton said that anyone “who thinks that these fights are over if the ‘yes’ side wins are kidding themselves”, in an interview with The New Daily.

“The government has brought themselves a lot more pain,” he said.

He said “politicians who thought we could have a plebiscite and get this off the agenda” were “naïve”.

Despite reports of anti-LGBTI violence of vandalism during the campaign, Shelton maintained that the postal survey has shown “we can conduct this debate in a way that’s fair, respectful, that ventilates the necessary issues”.

He called concerns about LGBTI people’s mental health during the debate “emotional blackmail”.

“I think public debate should be allowed to happen,” he said.

“No one on our side wants harm to come to anyone, but the idea that we shouldn’t be allowed to speak or that we shouldn’t be allowed to have a plebiscite because someone might take their life, I think that’s emotional blackmail in the extreme.”

Mental health groups last month suggested that marriage equality could prevent up to 3,000 suicide attempts annually, a statement that Senator Matt Canavan called “blackmail”.

Equality Campaign spokeswoman Shirleene Robinson said, “It is not emotional blackmail to draw attention to the real harm that can come from abuse and negativity.”

The marriage equality survey closes on November 7, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recommending voters post their ballots by October 27.

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