New Australian Party drops candidate for gay marriage question

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Australia’s newest political party has dropped one of its candidates, a former police officer, for asking whether he could hold personal views on issues including marriage equality.

Jason Somerville was formerly a member of the Queensland Party, which recently merged with the newly-formed Australian Party, and had asked about marriage, abortion and surrogacy when he was told he was no longer wanted.

The Australian Party is the creation of Bob Katter, who last week called for marriage equality to be “laughed at and ridiculed”.

The language of the party’s official articles is more tempered.

Article 18 of their Core Values and Principles calls for the support and upholding of marriage generally.

It continues: “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, ideally for life. It is in the best of interests of children that they are nurtured by their father and their mother and laws concerning children should be based on the best interests of children.”

At the National Marriage Day rally, which is organised by the Australian Family Association and the Australian Christian Lobby, he encouraged the attendees to mock proponents of marriage equality.

Katter argued: “Truly this proposition deserves to be laughed at and ridiculed. It doesn’t serve any serious treatment.”

Somerville asked whether he could hold his own views, he was ejected.

He said: “I was told that basically it’s founded on Christian values and that on votes such as same-sex [marriage], that we’d have to vote with the party, which was against it.

“I was told that I wasn’t the type of person he wanted to have in the party.”

Australia’s first gay and lesbian retirement village was announced this month, with work due to start in 2011.