By Drew Sheldrick

Gay activists and the Australian Democrats have voiced concern about comments made by the leader of a new Tasmanian pro-environment party that same-sex marriage is “radical” and “trendy”.

Dr Kathleen Petrovsky of the Ethics and Sustainability Party made the comments in an interview with The Sunday Tasmanian in response to questions about her party’s differences from the Greens.

“We feel there are some people who see the Greens as too radical,” Petrovsky said. “We don’t believe in changing society and its rules. We believe in the mother, father, children kind of nuclear family. I’m not into gay marriage.”

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said he’ll seek a meeting with Petrovsky adding that said same-sex marriage has widespread public support.

“According to opinion polls, same-sex marriage has the support of 60 percent of Australians, not to mention support from Tasmanian Labor Party state conference and numerous large Australian corporations and unions — it is anything but radical,” Croome said.

Croome called on Petrovsky to state her party’s positions on other issues such as same-sex parenting and financial and workplace entitlements.

“I’m sure the young voters Dr Petrovsky says she wants to appeal to will be interested in exactly how deep her party’s prejudices run,” Croome said.

The Tasmanian division of the Australian Democrats has also criticised the new party’s position. Division president James Irvine said it wasn’t trendy — it was the right thing to do.

“How a party claiming to be ethical can support keeping part of our population as second-class citizens is beyond me,” he said.

Irvine added that if members and supporters of the Ethics and Sustainability Party are mostly professionals, as was reported, there would be a strong backlash from them over the comments.

“So far the Ethics and Sustainability Party has proven themselves to be unethical, unsustainable, and out of touch with its own base,” he said.

The Tasmanian state election is expected to be held on March 20.

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