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Australian Marriage Equality has called for Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to be disciplined for more offensive comments about same-sex marriage.

In a new interview with Fairfax, Bernardi claimed that a petition to legally recognise multi-member unions was evidence of a shift by some sections of society in an “abhorrent and disgusting” direction that he had predicted during Parliament’s debate about same-sex marriage last year.

At that time, Bernardi was demoted from the position of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott after he attempted to link same-sex marriage with bestiality.

In the new interview, he highlights a recent petition by the Polyamory Action Lobby for marriages involving more than two people as proof he was correct in his “slippery slope” assumptions: “Now I said that would happen. It’s happening.”

“I think there should be alarm,” he added. “If you’re going to re-define a word to satisfy demands of a minority then you’re going to face continuing demands in that space,” Senator Bernardi said.

The Senator defended his comments from last year by saying, “Bestiality, of course it was an extreme example, but once again it’s linked to the radical agenda of the Greens Party.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is quick to respond. “Linking the love that thousands of Australians have for each other to bestiality is disgraceful,” she says.

“Once again Cory Bernardi has attacked gay and lesbian Australians and has humiliated his party.”

Justin Koonin, Co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby agrees. “Once again, Cory Bernardi is spreading fear and intolerance instead of tolerance and understanding.
His comments will offend not just the gay and lesbian community, but the majority of Australians who support marriage equality and welcome the diversity this community brings to wider society.”

Labor’s Finance Minister Senator Penny Wong adds to the condemnation of Senator Bernardi, saying his ‘’offensive comments have no place in modern Australia’.”

‘’The principle of equality is far greater than the pathetic attempts by Cory Bernardi to drum up fear and prejudice,’’ she says.

Rodney Croome, National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality counters Senator Bernardi’s comments with facts. “Not one country that has allowed same-sex marriage has moved to legitimise polygamy or bestiality for the simply reason they’re not linked, legally, socially or culturally.”

“It is deeply wounding for same-sex attracted people to have their relationships demeaned in this way and we call for Senator Bernardi to be disciplined by Coalition leader, Tony Abbott.”

Croome called on Coalition Senators to support a Bill for the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages to be debated in the Senate on Thursday.

“Supporting the recognition of overseas same-sex marriages is a way for Coalition Senators to show they respect the solemn legal marriage vows Australian couples have made overseas, as well as the laws of our closest allies like the Canada, the US, New Zealand and soon the UK.”

“It will also be a way to distance themselves from Senator Bernardi.”

Author: Michael Nguyen
Publication: Same Same
Date: 18 June 2013