Cory Bernardi quits as opposition leader's parliamentary secretary after 'one mistake too many'http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/19/australian-senator-gay-marriage-bestiality
Haroon Siddique, Wednesday 19 September 2012 11.13 BST
An Australian senator has resigned from the opposition's frontbench team after he provoked outrage by comparing gay marriage to bestiality.
Cory Bernardi also warned that allowing same-sex unions could lead to calls to legalise polygamy, during a debate in the senate on Tuesday.
"The next step, quite frankly, is having three people or four people that love each other being able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society – or any other type of relationship," he said.
"There are even some creepy people out there … [who] say it is OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals.
"Will that be a future step? In the future, will we say: 'These two creatures love each other, and maybe they should be able to be joined in a union'? I think that these things are the next step."
In a subsequent radio interview, he stood by his comments, telling ABC: "We've already had complaints from those in the polyamorous community about [how] this will discriminate against them."
Bernardi stood down as the parliamentary secretary of the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, after criticism of his comments from across the political spectrum.
The centre-right coalition of which Abbott's Liberal party is part opposes gay marriage, but Abbott said of Bernardi's remarks: "They are views that I don't share. They are views that many people will find repugnant." He said Bernardi had offered his resignation during a forthright discussion.
Labor and the Greens had called on Abbott to sack the senator, who has attracted controversy in the past for his views on multiculturalism, asylum seekers and climate change.
In 2010, Bernardi called for the burqa to be banned in public, and last year he said, in a radio interview: "Islam itself is the problem." Abbott criticised those comments. After Bernardi's remarks about gay marriage, the opposition leader said he had "swiftly concluded that was one mistake too many".
In his resignation statement, Bernardi said he was standing down from the shadow front bench "in the interests of the coalition". He did not apologise for his remarks.
Bernardi boarded a flight to London on Wednesday morning to attend the European Young Conservative Freedom Summit, the Australian newspaper reported.