The problem with this argument which, despite what I believe and which way I’ll vote in the plebiscite, does in fact have some merit to consider, is that it tries to establish that having equal rights and protections for people based on their sexuality is mutually exclusive with having equal rights and protections for people based on their religious beliefs.
Though in Australia we live in a society that is significantly based on Judeo-Christian principles and morals, we do not live in a theocracy. Everyone should have the right to practice their religion, to participate in rituals and ceremonies without persecution or interference. But that right doesn’t extend to forcing others to follow the precepts of your religion.
I’d be extremely surprised if anyone disagreed with the idea that people have the right to wave their hands around in the air. I’d be even more surprised if anyone disagreed that right ending at the point where that hand is a closed fist and is about to punch someone else. We already have the understanding that one person’s rights don’t allow them to infringe on the rights of others.
As far as the small business owners (because I assume the large chains have too many employees and managers to have a single ideological view) that would have their religious freedom stifled by being forced to serve customers, I doubt there are as many out there as some of the politicians and religious leaders seem to think who would seriously consider boycotting customers based on their sexuality. In fact I suspect its more likely that some small businesses out there would welcome the idea of an expanding customer base.
Should there be equal rights for people, regardless of sexuality? Yes. Should there be equal rights for people, regardless of religious belief? Yes. One of those is already in place in Australia. It may not be perfect, and I suspect there will always be a debate around whether it should be tweaked in one direction or the other. The other is definitely not in place in Australia. So why don’t we focus on the big issue, then we can debate both over the tweaks to be made.