An Anglican priest has confronted Bill Shorten over his remarks on a same-sex marriage plebiscite, saying the opposition leader took "cheap, nasty, untruthful shots" at people opposed to marriage equality.
Anglican priest Ian Powell approached Shorten outside a church service for MPs this morning in Canberra, saying he liked the Labor party but was "disappointed" by Shorten's comments.
ABC News posted footage of the awkward interaction on Twitter.
Powell: You described people who weren't in favour of changing the definition of marriage as 'haters who come out from under rocks'. Can I ask you not to speak like that? Because I know lots of people like that.
Shorten: I don't mean to interrupt you... you're asking me...
Powell: Please don't speak like that abut other Australians so we can have a civil and tolerant discussion rather than the hate speech coming from our prospective prime minister.
Shorten: If you're going to quote me, quote me accurately.
Powell: Well that's how you were quoted. Tell me what you said then, I'll be glad if I was wrong.
Shorten: Please don't hector me. Give me the chance to speak.
Powell: Go, go go.
Shorten: Thank you for that. First of all, people of faith can be opposed to marriage equality.
Powell: It's not about faith. It's just a point of view.
Shorten: If you've got more to say I'll listen to you.
Powell: Thank you.
Shorten: People of faith can be opposed to marriage equality but some people who object to marriage equality do have homophobic attitudes.
Powell: Of course. Thank you.
Powell was referencing comments made by Shorten in a debate prior to the election.
The context of the "haters who come out from under rocks" quote is Shorten saying the marriage plebiscite could fuel homophobia.
"I don't want to give the haters a chance to come out from underneath the rock and make life harder for LGBTI people or their families, to somehow question the legitimacy of their relationship," Shorten said at the time.
Powell slammed Shorten as taking "cheap, nasty, untruthful shots" instead of modeling "intelligent, respectful tolerance".
"Of course there are haters on both sides," he told reporters.
In a 2012 lecture on homosexuality and Christianity, Powell likened being gay to having a strong attraction to animals.
"I’ve met people whose deep innate longings is to have sex with animals. They struggle. This guy I was talking to… he felt it deeply as any other sexual longing. As much as I wanted to have sex with women, he wanted to have sex with animals. That’s just the way he found himself. Why does he not do it? He understands that that is not what the Bible says."
Powell also said the term "homosexual" is unhelpful, offering "same-sex attracted" and "same-sex attraction activity and lifestyle" as better ways to discuss homosexuality.
"SSA is a non judgmental thing, they are attracted to people of the same sex," he said.
"[SSAAL] is a different thing, people who say ‘Yes I am attracted to the same sex and I will act on that and it will become part of my lifestyle'."
In comments on Facebook last year, Powell also argued that same-sex marriage would lead to group marriages.
"I am happy to have a large bet that once we do redefine it then very soon we will have all sorts of pushes to redefine the redefinition that will be impossible to ignore," he wrote.