Senator denies saying that gays don’t want to marry, citing Dolce and Gabbana

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

An Australian senator has denied reports that he said gay men don’t want to marry, and that he pointed to fashion duo Dolce and Gabbana, who never married.

Senator Eric Abetz published a statement on Wednesday refuting reports which claimed he said “gay men do not want to get married”, and accusing news outlets of “poor journalism”.

Various news outlets had published articles about the comments, which they said were made by the senator after Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke at a five-hour long party room, and coalition MPs were blocked from a free vote on same-sex marriage.

A statement published today on Senator Abetz’s website read: “Reports in the media today that I said that “gay men did not want to get married” are simply false.

“My view is well known. As I said at a public forum in Hobart last week, not all members of the gay community have the same view on this question.”

He went on: “Basing a story on second or third-hand reports of a party room discussion without any verification with me or my office, is extremely poor journalism.

“It is even worse that the Labor Leader, without knowing what was actually said, has chosen to accept this false report. But, of course, he has form in this approach.”

Despite the senator denying that gay couples don’t want to marry, it is an argument which has been used in the past around the globe.

In the UK, ahead of the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England, Scotland and Wales, former Stonewall boss Ben Summerskill suggested that gay people were happy with civil partnerships, and that many did not want marriage.

In 2009, he told PinkNews: “Well, the issue on marriage is that again, there are a lot of vocal supporters, but the thing they’ve always focused on is actually the real rights and entitlements. As I said, we know there are quite a lot of gay and lesbian people who wouldn’t want marriage, and some have explicitly said so.”

Similarly, British Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, whowas one of the most vocal critics of David Cameron’s policy to introduce equal marriage, wrote on the Conservative Home website in May 2012: “Gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin.

“I have yet to meet a gay couple in my constituency or beyond who support it; in fact, the reaction has been quite the opposite. Great Britain and its gay couples don’t live on Canal Street in Manchester, shop in The Lanes in Brighton or socialise at Gaydar in London.

“Gay couples are no different from heterosexual couples and yet this policy transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community. The policy is divisive, unpopular with the public, is tearing the Conservative Party apart and will influence absolutely no one in terms of the way they vote in the future.”

Same-sex marriage has proven difficult in Australia, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a staunch opponent.

Thousands took to the streets of Australia to push for same-sex marriage, across various cities last weekend.

Famed fashion design duo, Dolce and Gabbana, who are gay themselves, earlier this year made derogatory comments about ‘non-traditional families’.

The pair, who are gay themselves, referred to children born via IVF as “synthetic” – leading Sir Elton John to call for a boycott.