Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott announced that Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has resigned after he compared gay marriage to bestiality.
Bernardi said during a debate on same-sex marriage in the Senate yesterday:
‘The next step …is having three people that love each other should be able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society, or four people. There are even some creepy people out there, who say that it's OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?'
Abbott said at a a press conference this morning:
‘They are views that I don’t share that I think many people would find repugnant… I was concerned about what Cory said in the Senate last night and then when he compounded that by going to to radio to repeat the matter I thought that was one mistake too many.’
Abbott, who has a lesbian sister, said the Liberal party he leads is committed to opposing gay marriage because they stood on that platform at the last election.
But he said ‘I think we’ve got to conduct this debate in a a civil way and I don’t think Cory Bernardi in anyway contributed to that’.
After a conversation with Abbott, Bernardi resigned as shadow parliamentary secretary assisting the leader of the opposition. He will be replaced by Arthur Sinodinos and Jamie Briggs.
The debate on same-sex marriage in the Australian Senate continues with a vote expected today.
The vote is not expected to pass legislation allowing gay couples to marry as opposition coalition senators are not allowed a free conscience vote. Nine Greens senators and 20 Labor senators are expected to vote for marriage equality, short of the support of 38 senators needed to pass new laws.