The knives are out and getting sharper every day as politicians on both sides of the marriage equality debate come out of the woodwork.
Deputy leader of the National Party Barnaby Joyce (pictured) has joined the chorus, warning that Asia could see Australia as “decadent” if same-sex marriage is legalised.
“I think that what we have to understand is that when we go there (Asia), there are judgements, whether you like it or not, that are made about us and they see in how we negotiate with them whether they see us as – whether they see us as decadent,” he said.
Asked directly if Australia embracing gay marriage would be seen as decadent, he said: “I think in some instances they would, yes.”
While Mr Joyce says Australia should not necessarily take its cues or cultural values from its near neighbours, his comments echo fellow cabinet minister Eric Abetz’ warning last week that Australia should not legalise gay marriage because no Asian country has done so.
Mr Joyce told the ABC’s Insiders that he doesn’t believe we should be redefining marriage and that “marriage for me is in the traditional form”.
“In life, everybody doesn’t get everything they want,” he said.
Marriage should be “inherently there for the support of children or given the prospect of children or the opportunity of children”.
“I think that every kid has a right, absolute right to know her or his mother and father and also has – should be given the greatest opportunity to know their biological mother and father.
“I don’t think if you go and pass a piece of legislation and say a diamond is a square, (that) makes diamonds squares, they’re two different things.”
Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome told Fairfax Media that “to say children are better off brought up by a mum and dad reinforces prejudice against the children raised by same-sex couples and is just plain wrong”.
“The horse has bolted on gay parenting in Australia with about 20 per cent of Australia’s 50,000 same-sex couples raising children,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government frontbencher Senator Abetz has defended penning a sternly-worded rebuke to Hobart City Council for expressing support for same-sex marriage.
In the letter, dated June 17, the Tasmanian senator said the council’s resolution “undermines the important social institution of marriage” and had nothing to do with the priorities of ratepayers.
Senator Abetz earlier suggested frontbenchers who supported change should resign, and that allowing same-sex marriage would open a “Pandora’s box” and potentially lead to polyamory (the practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the consent off all people involved).
Coalition divisions erupted last week after it emerged a marriage equality bill moved by Liberal MP Warren Entsch, seconded by Labor MP Terri Butler and backed by a multi-party grouping, will be introduced when Parliament resumes in August.
Senator Penny Wong slammed Abetz’ comments, labelling them “illogical and outright offensive”.
She also accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of being an “extraordinary roadblock” on the issue.
“He keeps finding excuses not to talk about it,” she said. “It’s time for him to get out of the way.”
Mr Abbott has played down the prospect of a vote on Mr Entsch’s bill, warning it was unusual for a private member’s bill – one not introduced by the government – to get that far.
It has prompted speculation he will use parliamentary processes to shut debate down.