Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton who has campaigned for the No vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey says he believes the Yes vote will win. Shelton spoke with Troy Murphy, DNA’s Online co-ordinator and host of The Andrew And Troy Show on JOY 949. Below is an extract of the interview that will broadcast this Monday night from 10pm.
Troy Murphy: What do you think the result will be on November 15?
Lyle Shelton: I think, we’re going to struggle to get over the line, I think we are in with a chance but in my heart of hearts I know it’s going to be tough.
The postal plebiscite was billed as an “exercise in democracy” is it a fair request that if the Yes vote wins that the Marriage Act is changed back to “two adults”?
I think it’s a fair request to say that either side should respect the democratic outcome, but in a democracy where there is freedom of speech people on either side should be allowed to continue to advocate for their cause. I think that this is where there has been a lot of miss information in this campaign, whenever any law is changed the consequences are always considered, change to any legislation has flow-on effect. We know that change to the marriage act will trigger so-called hate speech laws and will make it very difficult for Christian and Muslim schools to teach their views that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman.
Assuming the result is Yes, is Dean Smith’s private member’s bill the most likely legislation to proceed?
No, it is inadequate because it doesn’t fulfill the promise the Yes side has made and that is that no one else’s freedoms will be effected.
What would you like to see included in a bill that legalises same-sex marriage?
I think you need a range of measures, you’d need a Commonwealth override of state-based anti-discrimination legislation so that people who express the sort of views that I’m expressing are not taken off to commissions and tribunals and fined for their views. You need protection for charities, protections for parents to withdraw their children without detriment from radical LGBTIQ sex education in schools.
If the Christian faith is allowed to have influence over how our country is run, what’s stopping other religions and their beliefs from influencing government and law in the ever-growing multicultural Australia that we live in?
Nothing! And I encourage them to have influence, a democracy is about a contest of ideas, we should all put our ideas into the process and at the end of the day, the people decide at the ballot box.
Should religious organisations pay tax if they wish to have influence over a secular government?
I think that there is nothing inappropriate about there being tax concessions for religious charities because they do support the common good.
What about the $1 million spent on the No campaign? Shouldn’t that money have been better spent on an actual charitable cause, like feeding the homeless and domestic violence?
Yes, absolutely, the Sydney Anglicans who you allude to gave $1 million from their investment fund, now they’re a church that is 200 years old so they have mature investments and are in a position where they are able to make that sort of contribution. We would all love to see that money going to feed the poor and the homeless and victims of domestic violence, however the million dollars that the Sydney Anglicans is probably a small price to pay to try and preserve the definition of marriage.
Why so much angst against same-sex marriage? Most in the LGBTI community feel victimised by religious organisations when they push so hard against same-sex marriage as if we are somehow lesser people because of our natural sexual orientation especially when there are other elements of the bible that affect society that you don’t focus as much on?
Firstly, I would want to apologise to any gay people.
The best apology would be to back down on the No vote and let us have marriage equality.
We’re going to have to agree to disagree there, one of the things that have grieved me the most out of this debate is that it’s assumed that if you’re not on board with redefining marriage that you hate gay people and want to victimise them. I will admit that in the past and possibly in the present that there are some people who in the name of Christ do victimise gay people and that’s appalling.
In an ideal world, would you like to see same-sex marriage legalised?
(Laughing) Uh, no, no I wouldn’t, I’d like to see us, as a society, restore what I think is the building block of society and that is for man and woman in a heterosexual marriage, for children to know the love and identity of their biological parents.
Even though studies show that children of gay parents are just as happy and sometimes better off?
I’ve looked at that research and I am not convinced by it. All of those studies have been what is called ‘convenient sampled’. I’ve never said that two parents of the same gender can’t be good parents but I still think that there is a question of whether it is ethical for a child to be deliberately denied the love of their mother and father to satisfy the desire of two adults.
Essentially you’re saying that gay parents who can provide a very loving and supportive environment for a child will never be as good as a ‘dick’ and ‘vagina’ no matter what their background, no matter the addiction or financial situation .
Love and support is a great thing and can produce positive outcomes but I don’t think they are everything.
Where will you be on announcement day?
I’ll be in Sydney with our team of volunteers and campaign staff, hopefully celebrating a No victory.
The full interview that will air Monday night includes further conversation about gay sex education, gay parents and parenting, cultural objectification of sex, safe schools, the churches attitude to gay people, tax exemptions, ethics around surrogacy and more.