Australia: Anti-gay politician attempts to defend pro-marriage equality candidate from expulsion

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A homophobic Australian politician, who founded his own party, has stepped in to stop it from ejecting one of its senate candidates for supporting equal marriage.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has been hit by several anti-gay rows in recent weeks, and founder Bob Katter has now personally intervened to stop one of his party’s senate candidates from being forced out.

KAP’s National Director Aidan McLindon asked candidate Steven Bailey to step down after he spoke in support of equal marriage.

Mr Katter then stepped in to keep Mr Bailey on, saying there was a communication breakdown and that he supported Mr Bailey’s candidacy.

The intervention comes following a difficult month for the party, which lost two members in a matter of hours over homophobic comments in January.

Last month, Tess Corbett withdrew her candidacy to run as a federal representative of KAP after she made public remarks likening homosexuality to paedophilia.

Ms Corbett said in a local newspaper: “Paedophiles will be next in line to be recognised in the same way as gays and lesbians and get rights.”

Hours after Ms Corbett withdrew her candidacy, KAP Queensland Senate candidate Bernard Gaynor said on Twitter that he did not think gay people should be teachers.

Mr Gaynor said he was “not afraid” to say he wouldn’t let a gay person touch his children.

KAP cancelled Mr Gaynor’s senate bid after the tweet sparked angry outbursts.

Mr Gaynor asserted his belief that Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would support him, saying they “would both agree that parents should be able to choose who teaches their children.

“I’m sure both of them would 100% back the rights of parents if they had concerns over the values of teachers. This includes concerns over teachers who promote homosexual lifestyles, either actively or by example, to children.”

Mr Gaynor voiced his anger over Mr Katter’s decision to cancel his senate ticket, blaming “political correctness” in an interview with the Courier-Mail.

“I know Bob Katter supports me 100%, but obviously he’s made this decision for political purposes,”  he said.

“Bob told me that he was on a crusade and that the party had a very strong position that marriage was between a man and a woman and a very strong position in support of family values. But obviously in order to achieve political goals, he’s happy to put those values aside and hang me out to dry, simply because I said I don’t believe homosexual people should teach my children,” he added.

KAP’s National Director Aidan McLindon said: “The party has made it perfectly clear on a number of occasions to all candidates and officials that KAP does not exist for individuals to air and promote their own personal preoccupations.

“For this reason and as a result of serious breaches of protocol the party has suspended Mr Gaynor’s membership.”

KAP has previously come under fire for homophobia. Mr Katter himself was criticised for saying equal marriage was a proposition to be “laughed at”.

In 2011, KAP dropped a candidate for asking if he could have a free vote on topics like equal marriage, and was told he wasn’t the “type of person” the party wanted.

A 2012 political ad that smeared an opponent purely for supporting same-sex marriage was later called a “mistake” by Mr Katter.

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