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Rudd’s sister ‘must apologise’
Marriage equality advocates and Holocaust survivors have demanded an apology from Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s sister following her statement that marriage equality is being pushed by “a global gay Gestapo”.
In an interview with The Australian newspaper, Loree Rudd accused ALP members of being brainwashed after four state Labor conferences endorsed changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage under federal law.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said Ms Rudd’s statement had no place in mature public debate and will incite hatred against supporters of equality.
“We call on those who oppose equality to condemn Ms Rudd’s outburst, and for Ms Rudd herself to withdraw her comments and apologise for them”, Greenwich said.
“Ms Rudd has set back her cause by comparing supporters of civil rights to an organisation that was responsible for mass murder, including the mass murder of homosexuals.”
In the interview Ms Rudd admitted she was lobbying Labor MPs to reject marriage equality, threatening to quit the party if the party platform is changed at ALP National Conference in December.
A divorced nurse and devout Christian, she has written to every MP in federal parliament, fellow Labor members in Queensland and newspapers, stating her opposition to marriage equality.
She told The Australian that the former prime minister was aware of her views but that she had embarked on her campaign without his knowledge.
“I have been delighted with Kevin and then with Julia in her support of the traditional view of marriage,” she told the newspaper.
Rudd said there was a worldwide gay movement that “fed propaganda” to lobby for marriage equality.
“I call them the global gay Gestapo: it is the lobbying movement that is brainwashing people, particularly the young in the community that this (homosexuality) is an optional extra in life,” she said.
Her comments were also criticised by gay Australians affected by the Holocaust.
Holocaust survivor Frederick Weisinger, who lives in Sydney and wrote a submission supporting marriage equality to a 2009 Senate inquiry into the issue, said: “I spent three years in a concentration camp as a child, and I am horrified by this comparison between the Gestapo and ordinary citizens like me who just want to be treated equally.
“Before she makes such offensive comments, Ms Rudd should read about the horrors perpetrated by the Gestapo, particularly how it hounded, persecuted and killed homosexuals in large numbers.”
Marriage equality advocate Jackie Stricker-Phelps, who is the wife of former AMA President, Kerryn Phelps, also added her voice to the outrage.
“During the Second World War, members of my family had their human rights taken away and were murdered at the hands of the Gestapo,” she said
“To compare the work of today’s human right’s advocates to the atrocities of those monsters is a shocking indictment on anyone making these claims.”
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said that Rudd’s comments were “deeply offensive” and urged her to immediately withdraw her remarks, claiming they were homophobic and inflammatory.
“While all members of the Australian community are entitled to their personal views, it is extremely concerning that in the 21st century certain individuals think that it is acceptable to discriminate against others based on their sexual orientation,” she said.
“Everyone in Australia, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the right to be treated with respect and dignity, and to live their lives free of discrimination, harassment and bullying.”