Shelton likens kids of same-sex couples to stolen generation
Their faces say it all. This is the moment Lyle Shelton told two indigenous TV hosts why kids of same-sex couples should totally be compared to victims of the stolen generation.
Laura Murphy-Oates and Rae Johnston are proud indigenous women.
And as they co-hosted SBS's The Feed program on Tuesday night, they also proved they were absolute pros at staying neutral - with not a flicker of expression crossing their faces as former Toowoomba councillor, Coalition for Marriage spokesman and Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton told them children of same-sex couples are just the same as members of their own families whose lives were torn apart by policies which resulted in the stolen generation.
The stolen generation refers to children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families under acts of parliament over several decades.
Both Murphy-Oates and Johnston's families were affected by the policy.
In May 2013 Shelton sparked furore and condemnation when he claimed legalising same-sex marriage would create another "stolen generation".
He has since continued to repeat his stance, saying the new "stolen generation" would come about "because of the use of technology to sever a child from its biological parent in order that same-sex couples could realise their desire to have children".
So as he put the "no" case on The Feed he was seeminglyhappy to school the two women on why kids of same-sex couples were just like them, and why it was appropriate for him to do so.
It was Murphy-Oates who took Shelton to task on his "stolen generation" comparison.
"You've said that people raised by gay and lesbian parents represent a modern day stolen generation. Both hosts on the desk tonight are indigenous.
"And our families have been directly affected by the stolen generation. Do you think that's really an appropriate language to be using?" she asked.
Shelton replied "any public policy which requires a child to miss out on their mum and dad, it is not a good thing.
"It doesn't mean that gay people can't love children - of course they can. And it didn't mean that the people who took indigenous children into their homes didn't love them. Love is not the issue. The issue was whether it was right for government policy to cause a child to miss out on the love of their mum and their dad".
If Murphy-Oates was insulted, she wasn't showing it, maintaining a poker-face as she asked: "But Lyle, you do think this is another stolen generation? You stand by that phrasing and that statement?"
Shelton stuck to his script: "I think this is another example of government policy that is requiring a child to miss out on their mother or father. And I think that is something that we should all reflect deeply on because this is yet another consequence of redefining marriage."
The camera then cut to the two hosts, who were expressionless.
They may have had nothing to say, but viewers didn't miss the moment, taking to Twitter and Facebook to have their say.
Earlier in the debate with GetUp! pro gay marriage campaigner Sally Rugg, Shelton opened his defence of the "no" case by saying "everyone in Australia is free to love whoever they like" and "there is "no discrimination against gay people."
He said legalising same-sex marriage would mean "parents would lose their freedom to have their children sheltered from radical LGBTIQ (sic) sex education in schools, which will become widespread and compulsory".
Rugg countered she was still unclear on what "the link between allowing loving couples to marry each other is with the curriculum of schools" but "freedom is important" and "and every child should be free to see their parents recognised as equal under the law.
Murphy-Oates questioned Shelton on why "no side has been making this about kids, about cake shops, about religious freedom, about anything other than whether two people in love should be able to marry", and pointed to research from Colombia Law School which revealed of 76 studies published in the past 30 years, "just four of them showed children of gay couples had it harder as the result of being kids of same sex parents".
"Isn't the science kind of in? Why are you scaremongering on this issue?" she asked Shelton.
Shelton responded he was not "scaremongering anything. I've looked at those studies. There's some validity to those studies but most of the studies that say the kids are convenient 'sample' studies. That's a way to do academic research but it's not a way to make conclusive findings. You need longitudinal data and we just don't have it."