Gay sister of Australia’s ex-PM Tony Abbott shuts down his anti-gay marriage stance
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to come out opposing same-sex marriage is not going down well with his own sister.
Mr Abbott, a right-wing politician who was Prime Minister of Australia from 2013 until 2015, is a strong opponent of LGBT equality despite his own sister, Christine Forster, waiting for the right to marry her same-sex partner.
As the government brings forward controversial plans to put equal marriage to a public vote, Mr Abbott yesterday threw his weight behind the ‘no’ campaign.
He said: “If you don’t like same-sex marriage: vote no.
“If you are worried about freedom of speech and freedom of religion, vote no.
“If you don’t like political correctness, vote no, because this is the best way to stop it in its tracks.”
The intervention has not gone down well with Ms Forster, who has been waiting for the right to marry her fiancée Virginia Edwards for nearly four years.
Mr Abbott’s sister, who is herself a Liberal councillor in Sydney, posted a line-by-line takedown of her brother.
MS Forster wrote: “If you value mutual respect: vote yes. If you want all Australians to be equal: vote yes. If you believe in free speech: vote yes.
“If this is about the people: vote yes.
“If you want the person you love to be in every sense a part of your family: vote yes.
“If you don’t believe your relationships (or anyone else’s) are second rate: vote yes.
“If you believe your own marriage is a good thing: vote yes!”
Mr Abbott recently stirred controversy when he visited US-based extremist lobbying group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) – despite the group allegedly pressuring countries around the world to keep sodomy laws banning gay sex.
The PM pushed ahead with his plans to speak to the group, which has also opposed LGBT people in the military, same-sex adoption and equal marriage, and delivered a fiery speech despite criticism in Australia.
He claimed: “We shouldn’t try to change something without understanding it, without grasping why it is that one man and one woman open to children until just a very few years ago has always been considered the essence of marriage and the heart of family.
“We can’t shirk our responsibilities to the future, but let’s also respect and appreciate values and institutions that have stood the test of time and pass them on, undamaged, when that’s best. That’s a goal we should all be able to share.”
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“Policymakers shouldn’t be judgmental about people’s personal choices… but we can’t be indifferent to the erosion of family given its consequences for the wider community.
Citing a predecessor, he claimed “the traditional family was the best social welfare system that mankind has ever devised.”
After her brother’s speech, Ms Forster tweeted: “Marriage is good for our society. That’s why it’s better for all of us if more can be married.
“Allowing same sex couples to marry doesn’t damage the institution in any way. It honours it.”
Ms Forster regularly called out her brother’s approach on same-sex marriage while he was Prime Minister – understandably, given his militant opposition at the time prevented her own wedding from going ahead.