Australian MP tells LGBT+ people to “grow a spine” over same-sex marriage

Sky News

An Australian MP has said those worried about the marriage equality debate should “grow up”.

The National Mental Health Commission issued a warning on Monday about the negative effects the intense dialogue surrounding same-sex marriage could have on LGBT+ people, but not everyone is convinced.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan told Sky News that the debate “hasn’t been that bad”, despite anti-gay propaganda being circulated around the country and “scaremongering” adverts airing on TV.

“Can’t we just all grow a spine and grow up?” he said. “I mean, the debate hasn’t been that bad.

“If there’s any complaints to be had, it’s from those who advocate yes, some of the vile tweets and statements we’ve heard from yes campaigners – but I can ignore that.

“Let’s stop being delicate little flowers and have a proper debate. This is an institution that’s stood the test of time for thousands of years, it’s an institution that remains a union between a man and a woman in a majority of countries.”

Related: Australian priest says ‘all gays should be shot’ during lesbian’s memorial service

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said Canavan’s comments were ‘unfortunate’, arguing: “There are young people who are struggling with coming out, they’re struggling with this debate… it’s not always respectful.”

Elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce spoke out against both sides of the marriage equality debate on ABC’s Radio National Breakfast show, telling campaigners to “get out of my face” ahead of the country’s postal vote.

“I can’t stand these people who stand at the corner and start yelling at you about what your views are on a very personal issue,” he said. “Get out of my face, leave me alone, I’ll make the decision myself.”

He added: “Like a lot of people, I don’t want to be yelled at by groups who tell me I’m somehow less than human if I’ve got a different view from them and sometimes that comes from both sides.”

Related: This gay couple are speaking out against same-sex marriage in Australia

Australia is expected to take part in a postal vote on the issue later this month, and while the result won’t be binding, it will give politicians a better idea of what the public wants when they perform a vote in parliament.

recent poll suggested that 63% of Australians intend to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, but LGBT+ activists have criticised the $122 million procedure, as it will likely give homophobes a platform to voice hate – which it already has.

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