The head of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has labelled Australian gay soldiers destructive to unit cohesion and mateship.

ACL managing director, retired Brigadier Jim Wallace, asked if Australia was prepared to sacrifice fighting effectiveness for political correctness by allowing gay men to serve in combat.

If you introduce into that 10 men a love or lust relationship, you immediately damage the phenomenon of mateship, Wallace told the American AP.

There is some discrimination that has to be done to maintain the effectiveness of society or the effectiveness …units.

He said gay men should be barred from combat roles, like the current ban on women serving on the front-line.

Do you want an army which is already likely to be outnumbered wherever it fights to be fighting at its most effective or its least effective?

Wallace is on leave and could not be reached for clarification.

ACL chief of staff Lyle Shelton confirmed for Sydney Star Observer that Wallace’s views were those of the Christian lobby.

The Australian Defence Force lifted its ban on gay and lesbian members in 1992. A Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS) spokesperson said they were very disappointed by Wallace’s comments.

Sexual orientation has absolutely no relation to ability, and Wallace is out of touch with the inclusive and harmonious environment in which our members serve very effectively.

The suggestion of introducing discrimination based on sexual orientation or the idea that sexual orientation in any way impacts the effectivess of our members and their units is most offensive and unhelpful.

The RSL was initially opposed to the decision to let gay men and lesbians serve, but has since dropped its objection.

Women are still banned from some dangerous roles such as Navy clearance divers, Army infantry, and Air Force ground defence guards. The policy was last reviewed in 1998.

A spokesman said the ADF supports diversity and opportunities for career progression were based on merit, ability, performance and potential.

The sexual orientation of ADF members is not recorded and it is not a consideration when decisions are made by ADF career managers and posting personnel. Gay and lesbian members of the ADF are able to serve in any position for which they are qualified.

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