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Don't condemn my family: Wong

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South Australian Senator Penny Wong says straight politicians pushing for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage don’t understand what it’s like to be the target of hate.

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The Labor frontbencher, who is in a same-sex relationship and has a young family, declared she was not immune from the abuse thrown her way but was resilient enough to withstand it.

But many were not.

Senator Wong said she wasn’t opposed to a plebiscite because she doubted the good sense of the Australian people.

“I oppose a plebiscite because I don’t want my relationship, my family to be the subject of inquiry, of censure, of condemnation, by others,” she said in a speech at the Australian National University overnight.

“I don’t want other relationships and other families, to be targeted either.”

Words weren’t the only weapons wielded by some of those who harboured animosity towards gay and lesbian people, she said.

“Assaults and worse are not unknown in Australia, even today.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison said he respected Senator Wong’s concerns and was sensitive to the issues.

However, he said people with strong religious views who oppose same-sex marriage were also victims of dreadful hate speech and bigotry.

“I know it from personal experience, having been exposed to that sort of hatred and bigotry for the views I’ve taken,” he told ABC Radio.

Morrison argued a plebiscite was a sensible process because MPs on either side of the debate could not represent the views of everyone in their electorates, so it was best to give all voters a say.

-AAP

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