Openly gay federal climate change minister Penny Wong is facing a barrage of community criticism tonight following her public declaration of support for the Gillard Government’s stand against gay marriage today.
On Channel Ten this morning Senator Wong said she respected Labor’s view of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.
‘‘On the issue of marriage I think the reality is there is a cultural, religious, historical view around that which we have to respect”, she said.
Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson, Alex Greenwich, said Senator Wong’s rationale for opposing marriage equality is deeply hypocritical.
“It was once the ‘cultural, religious and historical view’ that women should not be members of parliament, Asians should not be allowed into Australia, and lesbians shouldn’t even exist, yet thankfully all that changed allowing people like Penny Wong to contribute to Australian society at the highest level.”
“By opposing marriage equality, Penny Wong has betrayed gay and lesbian Australians, and by using culture, religion and history to justify this opposition she has betrayed the principles of tolerance and inclusion that have given her immense opportunities as a lesbian woman of Chinese descent.”
“If culture, religion and history were sound reasons for upholding discrimination there would be no Senator Penny Wong.”
David Polson was more direct. “Penny Wong is a disgrace. Yet another reason to vote for The Greens in the Senate,” he wrote to the Sydney Star Observer after Wong’s comments.
Scott Hill from Paddington also wrote to the paper immediately after Wong’s comments.
“Your rationale that there are ‘cultural, religious, historical view(s) around that which we have to respect’ is simply not good enough.
“We ask you therefore whether you would have opposed enfranchisement for women, which was in opposition to ‘existing cultural, religious, historical views’.
“Naturally you would also have opposed the end to slavery, as there were also ‘cultural, religious (and) historical views’ that wanted it kept.
“We live in the 21st century. It is time Labor, followed the example of Britain and so many other countries and dragged itself out of the 18th. “