Australia’s Tony Abbott says anti-gay marriage movement ‘should continue’

The de facto leader of Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign has said that that the movement should continue indefinitely.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become the most prominent opponent of same-sex marriage in Australia as the country holds a public vote on whether to allow gay couples to marry.

Pollsters have projected that the public will give the green light to equal marriage, but Abbott has come under heavy criticism for whipping up homophobic sentiment in the country.

Duriing the campaign the ex-leader has lashed out at “transgender marriage” and “radical gay sex education”, demanded censorship of a Macklemore performance over gay anthem ‘Same Love’, and suggested it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple.

Speaking to an anti-LGBT lobbying group in the US this week, Abbott suggested that the movement galvanised by the marriage vote should continue long beyond the deadline this month.

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

According to The Australian newspaper, Mr Abbott made a speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a listed anti-LGBT hate group.

Speaking about the ‘No’ campaign, he said: “Such robust characters, once activated, are unlikely to fade away; and could continue to make their presence felt, even after marriage is no longer an issue, because they’ve had the guts to campaign for a cause they believe in.

“With the leaders of both big political parties, 60 large businesses and most of the major sporting codes all coming out on the other side.. and no cabinet minister, not one in the centre-right government, prepared to campaign with them, they will understandably be wondering who and what might represent them in the years ahead.”

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott (Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

He added: “Win, lose, or draw, though, starting from scratch two months ago, the campaign for marriage in my country has mobilised thousands of new activists; and created a network that could be deployed to defend Western civilisation more broadly and the Judeo-Christian ethic against all that’s been undermining it.

“So far, the campaign to defend marriage in Australia has raised over $6 million from more than 20,000 separate donors, and fielded more than 5000 volunteers to doorknock and phone canvass.

“In the medium term, these new activists are likely to mean that the long march of the left through our institutions is no longer largely unopposed.

“If the traditional stance of the centre-right in the English-speaking tradition is to endure — to be pro-market and to be socially conservative — there has to be people prepared to stand up for beliefs; ­because if you don’t believe, you won’t fight; and if you don’t fight, you can’t win.”

Tony Abbott

He added: “There is … a massive job for these newly energised, potential conservative activists.

“For every protest march, there must be a solidarity one. For every assertion of identity politics, there must be a defence of the social fabric.

“For every lobby on the counter-cultural left, there must be one on the commonsense right if even the sensible centre is to hold; for the values of centre-right party MPs can no longer be assumed and often need to be buttressed.”

The head of Australia’s anti-gay marriage campaign recently accused countries with equal marriage of “snobbery”.

In a speech this week, Coalition for Marriage head Lyle Shelton accused people who support equal marriage of “snobbery”.

According to Out in Perth, he told an event: “There’s only about 20 or so out of 200 that have redefined marriage.

“It’s only a few Western countries that have decided they’re better than the millennia of human history and anthropology, so they redefined marriage.

“I think we’re showing a lot of chronological snobbery in a handful of countries in the west.”

He also cited UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s pro-LGBT speech at the PinkNews Awards as a reason to vote against equal marriage.

Speaking at the PinkNews Awards last week, Mrs May said: “Bullying in schools and on social media is still a daily reality for young LGBT people, and that has to stop.

“We need to keep up our action. So we are pressing ahead with inclusive relationships and sex education in English schools, making sure that LGBT issues are taught well.

“We are determined to eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying.”

Theresa May at the PinkNews Awards

Citing her speech, Shelton said: “If you change the definition of marriage, it affects the freedom of millions of Australians.

“What kids are taught at school becomes very controversial – we just saw last week the Prime Minister of England announcing that they want LGBTIQ sex education in all English schools.”

He added: “There’s no doubt it’s a David and Goliath battle. Our side is coming from a long way back, and the other side has a lot of momentum with support from the media and celebrities.

“If it’s a ‘yes’, we will obviously accept the democratic decision of our fellow Australians. But while there is freedom of speech, we’ll continue to advocate but it could take years or even decades to turn it back around. Australians will realise soon after that it was a mistake and that the consequences aren’t worth it.

“We want to preserve the definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Our gay friends already have equality under the law, there is no discrimination in the Australian law against gay couples. A lot of people don’t know that, but in fact in 2009 around 85 laws were changed.”

Elsewhere this week, another Coalition for Marriage official claimed that homosexuality is   “a disordered form of behaviour”.

David van Gend, a spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage and president of the Australian Marriage Forum, spoke up in a radio interview to defend the “traditional teaching that it’s a disordered form of behaviour”.

He said: “Now, I don’t shy away from that, because to me the behaviour is so separate from the person. Homosexuality doesn’t define a person at all. The only thing that defines a person is that they are loved by God.

He added: “If someone has same-sex attraction that is just a curious part of their make-up, it is not who they are.

“And what’s more, being same-sex attracted carries absolutely no moral blame, it is no one’s fault, it is just one of these puzzling phenomena.

“Whereas by contrast sexual behaviour, for any of us, is a choice, and we are culpable for the sexual behaviour we might choose to do. And for Christian people it’s pretty darn simple – no sexual behaviour is on at all, and that’s for all of us, unless it is within the faithful unconditional commitment of man-woman marriage. End of story.”

His use of terminology such as ‘same-sex attraction’ is consistent with practioners of gay ‘cure’ therapy.

The Coalition for Marriage refused to rebuke the spokesman for his comments, but insisted his comments were “not the position of the Coalition for Marriage”.

However, an official added: “We will not be asking Dr van Gend to retract his comments. Like all Australians, he is entitled to hold and express views.”

The Australian Christian Lobby, the core organisation behind C4M, recently put out an email claiming their supporters may have to “put your son in a dress” if the vote passes.

PinkNews revealed last month that the anti-LGBT Coalition for Marriage is telling activists to play to fears over gay sex and gender issues.

The group bills itself as a “grassroots movement” that will be on “the front line to defend traditional marriage in Australia”.

At an induction session for Coalition for Marriage activists attended by a PinkNews reporter, the group’s campaign leadership told activists to play up fears over “radical gay sex education” and transgender issues.

Anti-gay marriage campaigners have also sought to replicate tactics of campaigners who helped secure the UK’s vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in the US.

The Australian Family Association urged people to vote against equal marriage to create a ‘Brexit for Australia’.

They told supporters: “This is your chance to do a Brexit, a Trump, and confound the political elites by saying, we are not going to accept gender fluid ideology and gender fluid ‘marriage’ being forced on every man, woman and child, whether they are religious of not.”

The group recently launched an ad featuring a man who claims he can’t publicly express his opposition to same-sex marriage. In the ad, he publicly expresses his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Earlier this month a mother in Melbourne was sent a letter threatening her children after she put up a rainbow flag.

Last month a cafe was threatened with arson for supporting the Yes campaign while a 14 year old girl received a death threat for supporting marriage equality on social media.

Three Australian Prime Ministers have been at loggerheads over equal marriage, as former PM Tony Abbott viciously mocked former PM Bob Hawke after Hawke criticised the vote called by current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Tony Abbott has become the most prominent voice of the anti-gay lobby as Australia votes on equal marriage – alienating much of his own family in the process.

After Abbott suggested it would be “best” for his gay sister’s children to be raised by a straight couple, his own daughter Frances spoke out for equality, appearing in a TV ad on the opposing side of the debate to her dad.

The ex-leader has taken his opposition to LGBT rights to surreal extremes, lashing out at “transgender marriage” and demanding censorship of a Macklemore performance over gay anthem ‘Same Love’.

The Equality Campaign last month released a video and image of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, 87, backing the YES campaign for marriage equality.