OUTMidWest to have ‘peaceful presence’ outside Geraldton Christian lobby event

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
About 100 people gathered to oppose an ACL presentation at the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral earlier this year.
Camera IconAbout 100 people gathered to oppose an ACL presentation at the Geraldton Anglican Cathedral earlier this year. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian, Lisa Favazzo

A local LGBTQIA+ advocacy group will have a “peaceful presence” outside the Queens Park Theatre ahead of an Australian Christian Lobby event tonight.

OUTMidWest wrote to the City of Greater Geraldton last week to express the group’s “deeply-held opposition” to the decision to allow the ACL to host its The Truth of It Live event at the public venue. “Our concern is that the CGG is providing a space to platform the repetitive lobbying, vilification, and misinformation that the ACL engage in,” OUTMidWest said in a statement.

The group said there would be a gathering on public land near the venue this evening to “support our community in a display of love and acceptance of sexuality and gender diversity”.

City CEO Ross McKim defended the decision under the conditions of hire.

“Whilst this particular booking at the QPT may not align with some community views, it complies with all the necessary conditions and the City had no reason to decline the booking,” he said.

However, Mayor Shane Van Styn said in the light of this booking, the council would now consider a review of its conditions of hire. He also said the City believed a publicly owned venue was a safe location for protesters — “should there be any who wish to attend and want to protest in a safe and peaceful manner”.

The ACL was at one point barred from holding an event at the State-funded Albany Entertainment centre, with the Perth Theatre Trust saying the show was in breach of its venue hire policy of not accepting bookings from individuals or organisations “where the content of the event does not represent the views of the WA government or the vast majority of Western Australians”.

This decision was later rescinded, along with a promise by the PTT to revise the policy “to strengthen its position to make decisions for commercial hires in accordance with the PTT’s values.”

ACL WA co-ordinator Peter Abetz said the topics to be discussed in Geraldton were yet to be determined, but other lobby events were primarily aimed at encouraging Christians to “graciously” voice their beliefs.

“Some of the LGBT activists like to portray us as a hate group but if you listen to (the live stream of the Perth The Truth of It Live event) I don’t think there is anything hateful in there at all,” he said.

“You don’t have to agree with everything he (ACL managing director Martyn Iles) says but it is certainly not anything hateful or anything like that at all’.”

OUTMidWest will host a community barbecue on Sunday to mark Wear it Purple Day, an awareness event aimed at supporting and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. The details are yet to be determined.

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