Australian politician who said gay marriage was wrong resigns after getting his mistress pregnant
The Australian deputy prime minister, who opposed same-sex marriage because “every child has a right to know her or his mother and father,” has resigned after cheating on his wife.
Barnaby Joyce announced this morning that he will also step down from his position as leader of the National Party on Monday.
He left his wife, Natalie, after she discovered his affair with his media adviser Vikki Campion.
Joyce and Campion are expecting a child in April.
The 50-year-old politician said he hoped his decision would help Natalie and their four daughters.
“This has got to stop,” he said, according to the BBC. “It’s not fair on them.”
He added: “This current cacophony of issues has to be put aside.”
Joyce has denied a sexual harassment complaint that was made against him by another woman.
He was a strong opponent of equal marriage during the country’s postal vote on the issue, which prompted its legalisation of same-sex marriage.
During the voting period, Joyce claimed marriage existed as “a process that’s inherently there for the support of, or the prospect of, children”.
He added: “I think that every child has a right, absolute right to know her or his mother and father and also… should be given the greatest opportunity to know their biological mother and father.”
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Joyce continued: “I don’t think if you go and pass a piece of legislation and say a diamond is a square, [it] makes diamonds squares – they’re two different things.”
The politician has also claimed that marriage equality could harm Australia’s cattle trade, because people from other countries would see them as “decadent”.
Joyce has also previously justified his opposition to equal marriage by telling GQ: “On most streets of Australia, people do not give a s**t about it”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull issued a statement saying: “I thank Barnaby for his service as deputy prime minister and in his various ministerial roles in which he has been a fierce advocate for rural and regional Australia.”
Last week, Turnbull publicly criticised his deputy PM for a “shocking error of judgement” and said that ministers would be prohibited from having sex with their staff.