NSW’s new Opposition leader has a gay son and is a supporter of same-sex marriage, but is silent on exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act that allow businesses owned by religious groups to discriminate against sexual minorities.

Labor leader John Robertson told ABC’s Insiders he supports marriage equality but thought it was a federal issue.

“I have a son who’s openly gay,” Robertson said.

“Obviously I think he is a wonderful person. But it’s a matter for the Commonwealth.”

When host Barrie Cassidy asked if he believed his son should have the same right to marry as everyone else, Robertson said, “I see him as a person who is a genuine person who can make a contribution to our society … and, to be blunt, I think people should have the same rights”.

But since becoming Labor leader Robertson has failed to respond to repeated inquiries from the Star Observer about his views on the breadth of exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination Act which could currently see a gay student expelled from his religious private school if their sexuality became known, or a lesbian senior denied a bed in a church-owned aged-care facility.

In related news, Robertson has appointed Penny Sharpe MLC, the first openly lesbian member of the NSW Parliament, to the role of Shadow transport minister, while GLBT ally Carmel Tebbutt has surrendered her deputy leadership of the party but takes on education and training, a portfolio she held in Government from 2005 to 2007.

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