Kevin Andrews compares same-sex relationships to cycling buddies

Former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews shared his views on marriage equality this morning during an appearance on Sky News.

The Liberal member suggested gay relationships were more like friendships than the relationship of a married couple.

Andrews said he had an affectionate relationship with his cycling buddies but that didn’t mean there should be a law put in place to accommodate those feelings.

Speaking with Tom Connell and Samantha Maiden on The Morning Shift, Andrews reinforced his support of the ‘traditional definition’ of marriage.

“Ultimately the plebiscite, or the postal vote, is about ‘what is the legal definition or meaning of marriage’. The traditional meaning has been that it’s an institution that the law has some say in… because not all relationships the law has a say in, I mean, we have relationships, friendships, affections… the law has no place in relation to that,” Andrews said.

“Traditionally across cultures and civilisations it’s been the protection of people who are vulnerable from a relationship and they tend to be, in particular children, but certainly in some cultures; women included.”

Maiden reminded Andrews that children are already a part of the lives of same-sex couples and their families, though the Member for Menzies asserted that was not the “optimal” environment for a child.

“What we know from decades of social science research is that the best environment for raising children, the ultimate environment for raising children, is having two loving parents. A man and a woman. A husband and wife in a stable relationship,” Andrews continued.

“It doesn’t mean other relationships aren’t able to be successful for children.”

The presenters noted that many would dispute that there was ‘overwhelming’ evidence that children were better off with two married parents of the opposite sex, suggesting his implication was that same-sex and single parents were “second best”.

“Not at all! I think we can acknowledge, as I have here this morning a number of times, that people do the very best they can often in very difficult circumstances but what is optimal in this regard? Having said that I don’t think this is the core of the issue in the same-sex marriage debate.” Andrews responded.

The hosts went on to ask if Andrews felt there was any credence to claims from other opponents of marriage equality, such as former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, that changes to the Marriage Act could lead to group relationships.

“Once you change the definition to a man and a woman which has traditionally been held, to between two individuals, then any set of arrangements can be put into place. After all it’s only, I suppose, a belief, an emotion about a particular arrangement that applies rather than what has traditionally been the case. Is it only superstition that we then keep this arrangement to any two particular individuals?”

“Once you change the boundary, the question is where do you with any sort of logic, draw that boundary again…”

Maiden was quick to remind the former minister that there was nothing that would allow for polygamous relationships.

“I’m not suggesting that… In a world that is being advocated increasingly through things like the Safe Schools program etc about there being neutrality or fluidity in relation to the way in which people identify with different genders, well then this is a pathway which will lead to anybody claiming whatever gender they like as just two people being allowed to be legally married in a relationship. I think we should just accept that. If you agree with it or not that’s where we are going.”

When questioned about the relationship of his gay Liberal colleague Tim Wilson, Andrews went on to compare same-sex relationships to the comeraderie he shares with his cycling friends.

“That’s not the same. I have an affectionate relationship with my cycling mates, we go cycling on the weekends,” Andrews said.

“Why doesn’t the law have a place in those sort of relationships. It doesn’t because the law has a place traditionally, historically, across cultures and civilisations, because it’s there about protection of the vulnerable.”

OIP Staff

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