Claims that Senator Eric Abetz is having homosexual affair
Being a gay-marriage advocate I get lots of email – a lot of people have a lot to say about marriage equality. Usually it’s encouraging and welcome.
Today, though I received this:
“This is information I’ve been told by a reliable source working in Parliament House in Canberra, but I haven’t mentioned it to anyone because till now, Abetz had not, to my knowledge, made any homophobic public statements. But given his comments on marriage equality, perhaps it deserves to be better known. Abetz’ marriage recently ended because his wife discovered that he was having a relationship with a male (openly out) senator. Apparently it’s all been very acrimonious and is well known within the Federal Liberal Party. Maybe you have contacts who can confirm this for you. In any event, do what you think best with this.”
Immediately I suspected this to be someone trying to start some mischief and use our website to do it. The claims of a second-hand source and secrecy are the give away.
Then there are facts: since Dr Bob Brown left the parliament, what openly gay senators are there? Sure there is Senator Dean Smith from WA, but he is a good party man and opposes gay marriage.
I called Senator Abetz’s office and a spokesman denies these rumours. He also said:
“This sort of thing does nobody on either side of the debate any good.”
I agree with the senator’s spokesperson – in my opinion this kind of malicious rumour is worse than the hate mail or death-threats I routinely get from our opposition. It’s completely unedifying and unhelpful.
It is absolutely true that Senator Abetz is perhaps one of the loudest voices opposing marriage equality in the Coalition. In May the Senator claimed that gay marriage would lead to legal polygamy. As I recall he even opposed the Rudd Government’s changes to the 85 laws providing “functional equality”. Senator Abetz has also called gay marriage “socially destructive” as recently as today.
If we are going to win the legislative changes we want, we’re not going to do it through innuendo, slander and gossip. We’re going to do it by getting politicians to listen to us. We are not going to do that by calling them names and starting horrible rumours about their personal lives.
And, even if it is true, it simply isn’t ethical to ‘out’ someone.
It’s tacky and unnecessary.
This story has been slightly modified from the original – there was a typographical error that made the first sentence grammatically incorrect and a few links to other stories were omitted in the original. Senator Smith’s name was also misspelled. Update: Senator Abetz’s senior media advisor has sent a thank-you for writing this story, clearly they agree that these kinds of rumours are not ok.