Not everyone's berating Bernardi
Supporters are sticking by Senator Cory Bernardi. Photo: Andrew Meares
After he was forced to resign from the opposition frontbench, criticised by colleagues and condemned overseas, it may appear the whole world is against Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi.
But not everyone thinks his comments in Parliament about same-sex marriage, polygamy and bestiality were completely out of line.
Jai Martinkovits, the executive director of CANdo, the conservative action group founded by Senator Bernardi, said his remarks have been completely misrepresented and were not "anti-gay".
"I don't think for a moment that Cory was making comments which were anti-gay and certainly I don't hold any anti-gay sentiments whatsoever.
"I think he's entitled to a view on marriage. I didn't find it offensive, I think he probably could have worded it in a different way.
"I wouldn't have focused on the aspects related to animals. I would have probably just talked about the polygamy aspect, which is a matter of current debate.
"I don't think the gay rights groups should really be offended by his statements, because I really do think they've been taken out of context and misrepresented."
Mr Martinkovits said it was relevant for Senator Bernardi to bring up polygamy because it has been a matter of public discussion.
Most recently it was claimed a Melbourne Muslim woman was advised that polygamy was better than divorce by a mosque leader — a stance that deeply concerned Muslim human rights groups.
Mr Martinkovits said: "If we make compensations with respect to [same sex marriage] then where will we see the debate go in another 10 or 15 years' time?"
Soon after Senator Bernardi's speech made headlines, gay rights groups expressed their anger.
Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich said the comments were based on fear, not facts.
"There is no international example that backs up what he's saying. The comments are highly offensive to the tens of thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples who just want to marry."
Even British conservatives condemned Senator Bernardi, who is in the UK to attend the European Young Conservative Freedom Summit in Oxford this weekend.
Malcolm Turnbull said Senator Bernardi's remarks were "absurd", "bizarre" and "deeply offensive" and he disassociated himself from them.
"What undermines traditional marriage is neglect, it’s cruelty, it’s indifference, it’s adultery - that’s what undermines traditional marriage.
"So people who want to speak up for traditional marriage should be speaking about the need for more love and more commitment, not demonising people of the same sex who want to make a greater commitment between each other."
But former Liberal colleague Nick Minchin immediately defended Senator Bernardi's comments and said he could not see a reason for the resignation.
Mr Minchin reiterated that view on Sky News's AM Agenda program this morning, saying it was reasonable for Senator Bernardi to bring up the "unintended consequences" of legalising same-sex marriage.
The Australian Christian Lobby leader Jim Wallace said Senator Bernardi had been a victim of deliberate misrepresentation by supporters of same-sex marriage.
"He was talking about polyamory and polygamy as inevitable consequences in the longer term of any change to the definition of marriage. The issue of bestiality which he raised was raised as a completely different idea, only to illustrate some of the creepy ideas that are out there in the general space," Mr Wallace told ABC's 7.30 last night.
A Facebook page called "Support Cory Bernardi" has nearly 500 likes. It calls for people to sign a petition protesting at his resignation.
"Politically correct, trendy progressives like Malcolm Turnbull have forced him to resign for having the guts to speak out in favour of Australian values and oppose the homosexual agenda," the supportcory.com website says.
"This is an unacceptable disgrace. We must support free speech and traditional values by supporting Cory Bernardi."