Eric Abetz challenged over his opposition to intersex people marrying

Senator Eric Abetz says the senate missed an opportunity to create a unifying moment for the Australian people by rejecting all of the amendments put forward in the marriage bill debate.

Throughout the debate the senator raised concerns about transgender and intersex people being allowed to wed, but now says he has no problem with intersex people who choose a specific gender.

Senator Abetz told Sky News this afternoon that while Australians had voted for same sex marriage, polls had also shown they had concerns about religious protections and these should have been implemented.

“Sadly the senate rejected all those sort of amendments, it would have been a unifying opportunity to alleviate and ameliorate some of the concerns of the no voters.”

Senator Abetz said he also believed a lot of people who voted yes in the postal survey would also be disappointed in the way the bill had been rushed through the senate, describing it as being “bulldozed through”.

The senator who is a vigilant opponent to LGBTI rights, said the senate had no taken into account the legitimate concerns of no voters.

Repeating a concern that he voiced several times during the senate debate, Senator Abetz said that Senator Smith’s bill went further than most Australians realised because it would also allow transgender and intersex people to wed.

Senator Abetz was questioned about his concerns about transgender and intersex people being allowed to wed, host Tom Connell asked if he would concede that some people are just not born with specific male or female anatomy.

“That is correct, clearly that occurs, there’s nothing to concede here, it is an established fact that a very very small proportion of our fellow Australians are born in that fashion, and that is where difficult cases often make bad law, and so you’ve got to be very careful in how you deal with that.” Senator Abetz said.

Senator Abetz said most intersex people chose to be one gender.

“What occurs in the vast majority of that very very small category of people who are born with these attributes, is that they are usually then considered either male or female, courtesy of a range of factors, be it their decision, medical intervention etc, look very difficult, very sensitive area, and you would not seek to discriminate against people.”

The senator said the vast majority of Australians accept that gender is understood as a binary.

“I think the vast majority of Australians accept that there’s a binary situation overwhelmingly within our community that you are either male or female, but we do accept and acknowledge that there are those very small numbers who are born with attributes of both genders.”

The conservative MP said he still held out hope that religious freedoms could be added to the marriage bill.

“I think people have taken some liberties with the result of the postal survey, but having said that it is clear that the Australian people wanted to change the definition of marriage, that has now occurred in the senate.”

Senator Abetz said he hoped that those in the House of Representatives would take a “long view” when discussing the legislation and he remained hopeful that amendments for religious freedom would be inserted.

The Tasmanian senator said that it should be remembered that religious rights are part of Australia’s international obligations, while same sex marriage was not.

OIP Staff


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