In an upcoming interview on Joy 949’s The Andrew and Troy Show, PFLAG National spokesperson, Shelley Argent chats about the same-sex marriage postal survey, religious exemptions and the best outcome for marriage equality in Australia.
The AT SHOW: You have called Dean Smith’s bill an insult to the LGBTI community, could you explain that?
Shelley Argent: I believe it’s the best of the worst, the whole process is an insult, we had to go through the postal survey. The problem I have with Dean’s bill is that we should not be having exemptions, we were told that this exercise was a democracy in action, so democracy in action is that the winner wins, the winner takes the prize.
AT: Does it concern you that Australian Marriage equality and the Labor government support Dean’s bill?
Shelley: Yes, it does. Because marriage equality means just that, you either have equality or you don’t, and I think that we have gone this far so why settle for second best. It may be easier to get Dean Smith’s bill up (in parliament) rather than no religious exemptions, but that’s not the point, we’ve come this far, we should be hanging on for what we want which is marriage equality.
AT: Assuming the result is yes, is Dean Smith’s private member’s bill the most likely legislation to proceed?
Shelley: I don’t think so, I would be shocked if Dean Smith’s bill actually got up, because the day they announced they were going to have the postal plebiscite, the bill never got the table.
AT: What is your preferred path if not Dean’s bill?
Shelley: I think all we have to do is wait, wait until the next election and we will be fine.
AT: And the outcome?
Shelley: It’s simple, just change the wording back and we move on, and that’s it. I believe we should hold ground because when I was talking to leaders of the Australian Christian Lobby in Queensland, I asked what would it take to appease the ACL and allow marriage equality, they said “nothing”. It wouldn’t matter what we did or what we gave up, it will never satisfy them.
AT: With speaking to the ACL have they given any reason to their need for further amendments to the marriage act and anti-discrimination law exemptions?
Shelley: They just say, because it’s the Christian way.
AT: We’re discussing Dean’s bill and how inadequate it is for the LGBTI community when it comes to same-sex marriage equality, however the conversation is not being had by the general population, do you think this is the case because Labor and the ACL have said they support it there for people have become complacent ?
Shelley: I agree, I think that is quite possibly it, but I think what we need to do is be careful and not get too excited because if they all think that Dean Smith’s bill is going to be fine and it’s going to get up, boy are they wrong.
AT: What will you be doing on announcement day, November 15?
Shelley: I will be siting at home, there are lots of things going on but I don’t want to be caught up in the hype when I know there is going to be more continuing work for marriage equality.
For the full interview tune into Joy 949’s The Andrew and Troy Show this Monday night from 10pm(AEDST).