Q&A recap: Magda Szubanski hits back at false claims on same-sex marriage | Women's Agenda

Q&A recap: Magda Szubanski hits back at false claims on same-sex marriage

Magda Szubankski was forced to share a lopsided panel as the only gay individual in a debate about same-sex marriage on the ABC’s Q&A last night.

She was plonked beside Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, a No sponsor, the prominent Catholic advocate for a Yes vote Frank Brennan, as well as Karina Okotel, a well-recognised No campaigner and vice-president of the federal Liberal Party.

Predictably the debate from the No panellists diverged regularly from the issue at hand. That being, whether gay couples deserve to be legally married in Australia and recognised equally, under the same law as heterosexual couples.

But Szubanski was unruffled. She fended off each false claim with grace, composure and an easy aptitude to cut through the bullshit. Below are four such examples:

1) When Glenn Davies expressed concerns over children being raised in same-sex families without the ‘complementarity’ of a biological father and mother, Szubanski was quick to point out the hole in his argument.

Because, even if his argument held water (which, as pointed out by a paediatrician in the audience, it didn’t) same-sex couples are already legally allowed to bear and raise children in Australia.

“Whether it’s a yes or no, it will keep happening” Magda quickly pointed out. “You can’t stop it with a no vote.”

Relevance to the same-sex marriage debate: zero.

2) When Okotel (very tenuously) claimed that legalising same-sex marriage would result in increased IVF treatments, Szubanski noted again, this could already happen. Moreover, she questioned whether Okotel shared the same concerns for infertile heterosexual couples.

“Do you have the same issue with straight people who use IVF? Because one in six couples have a fertility issue, so are you going to dictate who can and can’t have children?”

Okotel’s bewildered expression and garbled response back, about not being in a position to legislate on the matter, conveyed the obvious flaws in her argument.

Tony Jones was forced to ‘leave it as a rhetorical question’ to save Okotel the embarrassment of explaining further.

Relevance to the same-sex marriage debate: zero.

3) Okotel then suggested that same-sex marriage could lead to restrictions on parental choice of “what education and curriculum children are exposed to.”

When the ‘Safe Schools’ program was brought up later in the debate, she referred to it as a “radical curriculum” that “was “inappropriate for children under the age of fifteen.”

When Jones turned to Szubanski for comment, she said what we were all thinking:

“What has me as a consenting adult, marrying a person of the same-sex got to do with the ‘Safe Schools’ program? That’s an education program, a completely separate issue.”

Relevance to the same-sex marriage debate: zero.

4) Szubanski delivered a final, emphatic blow last night to Glenn Davies’ and his suggestion that legalising same-sex marriage would have consequences on religious freedom. Her appeal was the perfect combination of political and personal.

“I accept the church will never marry me. That grieves me in ways you will never know. I’m the one in my family, when I buried my parents I organised every detail of the masses, I wrote the orders of service, I put the pall over my mother’s coffin,” she said.

“Now I accept the Catholic Church will never marry me, but you won’t even let me marry outside the church… Why should you have the right to tell me or any other person, straight or gay, what they do in the civil domain?”

Davies: “I don’t think the views expressed have been telling anyone what to believe. I won’t tell you that either, OK? That’s not my job.”

Szubanski couldn’t have been lined up better to respond.

“You paid a million dollars to fund the No campaign” she said.

And just like that, the battle was well and truly won.


Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox