Malcolm Turnbull, the communications minister and former leader of the Liberal Party, has been publicly criticised by two colleagues for supporting gay marriage.
South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi has told The ABC that as a member of the front bench, Turnbull should keep his personal views to himself or resign.
“If Malcolm Turnbull wants to talk about fringe issues outside party policy, he should resign from the frontbench,” the senator said.
Another Liberal politician, West Australian Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, has described Turnbull’s comments as “unhelpful.”
The Coalition supports a traditional view of marriage, and the party refuses to allow members a conscience vote on the issue.
In an interview on Sunday, Turnbull said Australia would begin to look out of place, as other countries move to allow same-sex unions.
“So people of the same sex can get married in Auckland and Wellington, Toronto and Ottawa and Vancouver, in New York and Los Angeles, Baltimore and Cape Town, but not Australia,” he said.
Turnbull also said he thought the Coalition would eventually allow members a conscience vote, as the Labor party already does.
Last year Bernardi was forced to resign from a shadow parliamentary secretary position for suggestion gay marriage could lead to polygamy and bestiality.
Gay marriage was legal in the Australian Capital Territory for a brief period, until a High Court challenge brought by the Federal Government was successful in having the
legislation thrown out.
According to the High Court judgement, while federal legislation could allow for same-sex unions, rules on marriage were the domain of the federal government.
The ACT legislative council had argued that as federal law currently does not recognise same-sex unions, its law could sit alongside existing regulations.
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