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Conservative Senator Eric Abetz Denies Saying Gay Couples Don’t Even Want To Get Married

But doesn't mention Dolce and Gabbana.

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Conservative Australian senator Eric Abetz has denied reports that he said gay men don't want to get married, using prominent fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana as an example.

Coalition MPs decided against a free vote on marriage equality in a six-hour partyroom debate on Tuesday afternoon and evening, potentially setting back the popular reform by years.

Fairfax Media reported that Abetz, who is vehemently opposed to marriage equality, argued in the meeting that gay male couples do not actually want to get married. He allegedly pointed to Domenico Dolce and Stefan Gabbana as an example.

The openly gay fashion designers ended their relationship several years ago and same-sex marriage is not legal in their home country of Italy, but earlier this year the pair, who are still business partners, spoke out against same-sex parenting, saying children need a mother and a father.

Previously, Abetz has said legalising same-sex marriage would open a "Pandora's box" of practices like polygamy, and suggested Australia ought to follow Asian nations, rather than other Western countries, on this reform.

"As I said at a public forum in Hobart last week, not all members of the gay community have the same view on this question," Abetz said.

"Basing a story on second or third-hand reports of a party room discussion without any verification with me or my office, is extremely poor journalism."

However, the press release did not explicitly deny that Abetz had mentioned Dolce and Gabbana in the party room meeting, which was disappointing.

Abetz also hit out at opposition leader Bill Shorten, who described him as a "clown" this morning.

"Senator Eric Abetz is a clown." Bill Shorten calls Abetz's 'gay men don't want to get married' view as half-baked.

"it is even worse that the Labor leader, without knowing what was actually said, has chosen to accept this false report," Abetz said.

"But of course, he has form in this approach."

The alleged comments were met with derision on social media.

Hey @SenatorAbetz, Oprah's been with Stedman Graham since '86 & they never married.Should straight couples be following their lead like D&G?

Abetz: Some of my best designers are gay.. https://t.co/hvkmiuhnhL

Abetz straightsplaining Dolce and Gabbana's domestic arrangements. Funniest thing I've read for some time.

Eric Abetz is "a friend of Dolce and Gabbana". Good to see he supports cottage industries.

Abetz. Dolce & Gabbana. It really is time to go home #auspol.

Senator Abetz, in his argument against same-sex marriage, stated some gay men do not want to get married, citing Dolce & Gabbana. Seriously.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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