Debate over marriage equality legislation is continuing in the Senate this week, and anti-SSM conservatives in the Upper House – especially Eric Abetz – are putting in last-ditch efforts to argue against a change to the Marriage Act.

In a rollercoaster speech, Senator Abetz claimed that “same-sex marriage is not a human right” in the same way that religious freedoms and marriage between a man and a woman are.

The Liberal senator for Tasmania also railed against “gender fluidity” and “the gender agenda”, and suggested that trans, intersex and non-binary people should be excluded by same-sex marriage legislation.

Abetz claimed that “the media and the celebrities were relentless” and that Yes supporters are now “feeling betrayed” because his colleague Dean Smith’s legislation is not what they voted for, despite Smith’s bill being clearly outlined during the postal survey period.

“No voters are good, decent Australians. They voted for fairness,” he said.

“The substantial No vote of 38.4% cannot be arrogantly dismissed as of no consequence.”

Abetz took time in his speech to thank Lyle Shelton, “the tradie” from a No campaign ad, and Israel Folau, among others, for joining him in resisting the tide of change.

He also argued that polls shouldn’t be the determinant of moral standards, saying, “It’s only dead fish who go with the flow. It’s only the live fish who have the capacity to swim against the current.”

Earlier in the day, ACT Senator and fellow Liberal Zed Seselja made his own speech discussing opinion polls.

Seselja argued that because polls indicated the outcome of the postal survey and showed concern about protections for religious freedoms, which the Yes campaign says are present in Dean’s Smith legislation, that they should be taken into account.

Presumably in much the same way that years upon years of polls showing majority support for marriage equality were taken into account and thus legislated, without a costly postal survey held in between.

Last week, former Senator Jacqui Lambie made similar comments to Abetz’s about distress suffered by No voters, claiming that they are “hurting right now.”

Speeches discussing the marriage equality legislation and proposing amendments are continuing in the Senate despite the House of Representatives sitting being canceled this week.

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