Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did something you rarely see in American politics: She refused to speak to the Australian Christian Lobby as scheduled after its director made an offensive comment about the LGBT community:
In answer to a question from the floor, [ACL director Jim] Wallace said smokers were owed “a big apology” as the lifespan of a gay male was reduced by up to 20 years, half that of a smoker.
“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,” he said.
“We need to be aware that the homosexual lifestyle carries these problems.”
The Prime Minister said in light of the comments, she had decided it would be inappropriate for her to speak to at the ACL’s national conference next month.
“I believe yesterday’s comments by Jim Wallace were offensive. 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.”
Good on her. It doesn’t excuse the fact that she still doesn’t throw her support behind same-sex marriage in the country, but it’s not every day when a prominent politician ignores a major religious group because a church leader said out loud what he usually only says in church.
(Thanks to Dani for the link)