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14 Things That Happened When Wong And Bernardi Debated Marriage Equality

We all thought of the children.

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Wong, the opposition leader in the Senate, is gay and a strident supporter of same-sex marriage. She has been pushing for reform on the issue within the Labor party for years.

Bernardi, a government backbencher, is just as enthusiastically opposed. A former parliamentary secretary, he was forced to resign after comments linking same-sex marriage to bestiality.

So, what happens when two of parliament's most outspoken same-sex marriage contenders meet in a highly-anticipated, nationally-televised debate?


"The sun will rise, heterosexual marriages won't crumble, 3-year-olds will still want more ice-cream than is good for them."

"I never said it would lead to that, I merely said that if we redefine marriage it would lead to further calls for redefinition and for other relationship types to be in there," Bernardi said.

He then proceeded to endorse the argument anyway, saying that other countries were already well on the way to allowing multiple-member marriages.


(Because when you're gay, you need to clarify that you don't think bestiality is tops.)

"If you grant the right to marry for same-sex couples one can't deny their right to a family, which immediately impacts the right of a child," Bernardi argued.

Legalising same-sex marriage would mean "deliberately destroying" children's links to their biological parents, he said.


"I think children need to be loved and nurtured, treated with fairness and firmness," she said.

"I think that if we want to have a discussion about how we try and support all families to bring their children up in that way I'm happy to have that discussion, but that's a very different proposition to saying that we have to exclude some people from the institution of marriage."

After same-sex marriage is legalised, the process of "eroding the rights of others" will begin, said Bernardi.

"Florists, photographers and bakers, they've been taken to court or forced to pay thousands in fines [in other countries] for exercising their right not to act contrary to their conscience."

8. And Wong was just kinda like... if a baker hates gays and lesbians we probably just wouldn't go there to get a cake for our big happy day but whatever IDK.

.@SenatorWong is not losing sleep over homophobic bakers. #NPC #MarriageEquality


Their conversation went something like this:

Wong: If you're a real liberal, why don't you support a conscience vote?

Bernardi: In the Liberal party, you can vote against party policy without being kicked out.

Wong: Actually, right now you can do that in the Labor party too with same-sex marriage.

Bernardi: We have principles as a party, and people support them when they join the party.

Wong: So you believe in liberalism unless you disagree with the principles?

Bernardi: The Labor party is dogmatic.

Moderator: Let's move on.

"Marriage has always been defined as between a man and a woman and we're seeking to redefine it, because they want entry into that club."


13. The final takeout, according to Twitter?

Look can we dissolve parliament and just have Penny as a benign dictator. #npc

The #npc marriage debate: where a woman owns a man for an hour.

We could not have a better advocate for #marriageequality today (or any day) than @SenatorWong . Reason, intelligence & dignity. #NPC

Rather enjoying how journos at #npc are questioning Wong like a Senator, and Bernardi as if he was a time traveller from the 16th century.

mfw I listen to @corybernardi speaking against #marriageequality #npc

Not many claps for @corybernardi at #NPC. Feels a bit like #QandA.

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

Contact Lane Sainty at

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