Politician’s gay sister opens up about ’emotional baggage’ of her brother opposing her rights
The gay sister of anti-gay marriage leader Tony Abbott has opened up about her brother’s fight to deny her right to marry.
As the country prepares for a controversial postal vote on same-sex marriage, its right-wing former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has become a prominent voice against equality.
Mr Abbott, who led the country until he wad deposed in an internal party coup in 2015, has called on Australians to vote against equality against the wishes of his own sister, who is waiting for the right to marry her same-sex partner.
His sister Christine Forster, who is herself a Liberal Party councillor, has already become a strong voice in calling out her brother’s misleading rhetoric on the issue – which we imagine is going to make Christmas in the Abbott household pretty tense this year.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Ms Forster admitted the falling-out between them had come with “emotional baggage”.
She said: “Because I’m on the opposite side of the fence to somebody who’s a member of my family, it’s quite personal, there’s some emotional baggage that comes along with it.
“It’s not just as simple as, ‘Oh I’m having a political fight with someone… I can’t shift Tony, and he can’t shift me.”
Ms Forster explained that it’s not just her brother opposing her right to marry. The family rift has seen her parents side with Mr Abbott on the issue, while the pair’s younger sister is supporting equality.
She confessed to “quite deliberately and quite publicly” calling out her brother’s comments, which she sees as “cutting to the heart of my relationship.
She added: “He’s a consummate political campaigner and it looks like, from what we’ve seen this week, he’s going to be the main voice of opposition.
“There will always be people who express extreme views at both sides of this argument – but the reality is, as a country, we can only embrace the change and bring that majority along.
“If we can’t go through that process and achieve that then, whatever the outcome, nobody will think it’s worthwhile.”
Ms Forster took to Twitter again today to call out her brother’s comments after he repeated anti-LGBT smears.
Abbott had claimed: “A bill that legalises marriage between ‘any two persons’ raises issues beyond marriage.
“Would it be possible to exclude gender fluidity discussions from schools if gender fluidity is contemplated by the Marriage Act?”
Ms Forster responded: “The Marriage Act covers marriage & nothing more. Allowing 2 people to marry has nothing to do with ‘gender fluidity’ [Tony].
“Those trying to link the vote on same-sex marriage with religious freedom are simply seeking to obfuscate & instill fear.
“Nothing will come in its wake except a lot of people who love each other will get married.
In an article for The Australian last week, Mr Abbott doubled down on his opposition to equal marriage, branding LGBT advocates “bullies” and lashing out at gay Senator Penny Wong, who has expressed fears that her children will be subjected to hate speech.
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He said: “Another disappointment is the tone of so much of the same-sex marriage advocacy.
“If polls are right, most support change so the plebiscite should be a way of reassuring people that it won’t strain the social fabric.
“Instead, the activists have insisted that the general public can’t be trusted to have a sensible debate and make a considered decision.
“Last week, one very senior Labor senator attacked the Prime Minister for allegedly exposing her children to “hatred” because of their family circumstances.
“It is not homophobic to maintain that, ideally, children should have both a mother and a father. Yet I fear much moral bullying in the weeks to come — invariably from those demanding change.”
He added: “I am baffled by the claim that gay relationships are somehow diminished without the badge of marriage. Unmarried people are not lesser humans than married ones.
“Couples with children are not greater than those without. Same-sex partnerships are not lesser than opposite-sex ones. They’re just different.”