The lesbian sister of Australia's opposition leader Tony Abbott has condemned comments by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi about gay marriage.
'Cory Bernardi's comments in today's SMH are an affront to me, my partner and our relationship,' tweeted City of Sydney Liberal councillor Christine Forster.
Pressure mounted on Liberal leader Abbott to discipline Bernardi after shadow cabinet minister and Abbot's political rival Malcolm Turnbull added his voice to the outcry, saying Bernardi's comments were 'very extreme and very extremely offensive'.
Unlike the opposition leader, Turnbull supports gay marriage and a free conscience vote by the Liberal party on any same-sex marriage legislation.
Voices from the Labor Party joined in to chastise Bernardi. Senator Penny Wong, who is in a same-sex relationship tweeted: 'the principle of equality is far greater than the pathetic attempts by Cory Bernardi to drum up fear and prejudice'.
And former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd mounted the pressure on Abbott to take action against Bernardi.
'The fact that Mr Abbott continues to support Bernardi as a Liberal senator for South Australia means that he continues to tolerate these extreme, right wing views within his party,' said Rudd to news.com.au.
'Do either Senator Bernardi or Mr Abbott have any idea of the deeply hurtful impact of statements of this type, which assume that homosexuality is an abnormality, are to hundreds of thousands of gay Australians?'