Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott claims equal marriage supporters are ‘moral bullies’

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Australia’s anti-gay marriage former leader Tony Abbott has claimed that equal marriage supporters are “moral bullies”.

As the country prepares for a controversial postal vote on same-sex marriage, its right-wing former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become a prominent voice against equality.

Mr Abbott, who led the country until he wad deposed in an internal party coup in 2015, has called on Australians to vote against equality against the wishes of his own sister, who is waiting for the right to marry her same-sex partner.

Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott claims equal marriage supporters are ‘moral bullies’

In an article for The Australian today, Mr Abbott doubled down on his opposition, branding LGBT advocates “bullies” and lashing out at gay Senator Penny Wong, who has expressed fears that her children will be subjected to hate speech.

He said: “Another disappointment is the tone of so much of the same-sex marriage advocacy.

“If polls are right, most support change so the plebiscite should be a way of reassuring people that it won’t strain the social fabric.

“Instead, the activists have insisted that the general public can’t be trusted to have a sensible debate and make a considered decision.

“Last week, one very senior Labor senator attacked the Prime Minister for allegedly exposing her children to “hatred” because of their family circumstances.

“It is not homophobic to maintain that, ideally, children should have both a mother and a father. Yet I fear much moral bullying in the weeks to come — invariably from those demanding change.”

He added: “I am baffled by the claim that gay relationships are somehow diminished without the badge of marriage. Unmarried people are not lesser humans than married ones.

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“Couples with children are not greater than those without. Same-sex partnerships are not lesser than opposite-sex ones. They’re just different.”

Labor Senator Penny Wong had won praise earlier this month for a powerful speech explaining why plans for a public vote are nothing more than a “stunt” to save a divided government.

Of the suggestion that a public vote could provide a unifying moment for the country, Ms Wong said: “The Australian Christian lobby described our children as the stolen generation.

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“We love our children. And I object, as do every person who cares about children, and as do all those couples in this country, same-sex couples who have kids, to be told our children are a stolen generation.

“You talk about unifying moments? It is not a unifying moment. It is exposing our children to that kind of hatred.”

Mr Abbott recently stirred controversy when he visited US-based extremist lobbying group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – despite the group allegedly pressuring countries around the world to keep sodomy laws banning gay sex.

The ex-PM pushed ahead with his plans to speak to the group, which has also opposed LGBT people in the military, same-sex adoption and equal marriage, and delivered a fiery speech despite criticism in Australia.

Related: Gay sister of Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott shuts down his anti-gay marriage stance

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