Senator Ricky Muir has revealed he once said he would disown his son if he was gay, while speaking about changing his mind on marriage equality.
In an interview on the ABC's Kitchen Cabinet, the Motoring Enthusiast Party senator said a fight with his wife prompted him to question his views on gay people.
"I did have very opposing views to what I have now, but that's because of 'monkey see, monkey do'," Muir explained. "You grow a up certain way, you're told certain things, you go with it."
While debating marriage equality with his wife one day, Muir said something that made him stop and think.
"We were having that [marriage] debate, and I can't even remember what my argument was but I tell you now it was weak," Muir sad.
"And she said to me, 'what if your son was to turn out to be gay?'"
"My answer was, 'I'll disown him'."
"The look on her face was just absolute sheer disgust. I thought, gee, that's a really bad thing to say."
This exchange led Muir to think on the issue for "a long time", asking himself "what's my real problem here?"
"For a long time it would just churn over in my mind, what's my real problem here?" Muir said.
"I decided in that moment that I wasn't actually a religious person but it was views of religion that I had been raised with or around that was making me say that, making me have that view."
"I thought, I think I'm better off turning my attention to the emotions of people I know who exist, who are right in front of me and I actually know."
Muir said that his new theory is to treat others as he would like to be treated.
"I love the outdoors lifestyle, I love the bush, I am a hunter and a gatherer," he said.
"My theory is if I'm respectful of other people's decisions, they'll be respectful of mine."
Muir announced his support for same-sex marriage in June this year, saying he was doing it for "country folk" and that it would improve mental health for many people in rural areas.
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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