Senator Cory Bernadi has backed down on earlier controversial claims that legalising same-sex marriage could lead to the acceptance of bestiality.
But he still believes changing the law leaves the gate open to the acceptance of unconventional relationships.
Mr Bernardi made the comments today during his National Press Club debate with Labor Senator Penny Wong.
Mr Bernardi claimed he never linked bestiality to same-sex marriage. “But … it would lead to further cause of redefinition,” he said.
He also said it could lead to polygamists for example calling for similar rights.
But Ms Wong, who has two daughters with long-term partner Sophie Allouache, said people should “check the Hansard” to assess Mr Bernadi’s previous position.
“I say to you Cory if you want a guarantee that I will stand with you against bestiality being recognised in law, I’m happy to give that today,” she said to applause.
Ms Wong claimed the majority of Australians supported her in her stance on same-sex marriage.
“Activists, business leaders, unionists, sporting heroes, the parents of gay and lesbian children and so many more have voiced their support on equality,” she said.
Mr Bernadi focused on children to voice his stance against same-sex marriage.
“The rights of the children tend to trump the rights of adults,” he said.
“It is children who have rights and adults who have responsibilities, but that concept is being turned on its head by the advocates for this cause, because if you grant the right to marry for same sex couples one can’t deny their right to a family, which immediately impacts the right of a child.”
But Ms Wong said that not allowing people to marry they want to marry would hurt the emotional well-being of children.
“Same-sex couples already have children, marriage equality will not change that,” she said. – Ashleigh Stevenson
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