Australian Sen. Bridget McKenzie faced a tough question on same-sex marriage from her own gay brother on ABC’s Q&A on Monday. Sen. McKenzie is against same-sex marriage and was asked, along with the rest of the panel, whether a nationwide vote on the issue is worth the cost and potential emotional and mental health outcomes which would likely befall the LGBTQ community.
“Given the majority of parliamentarians and Australians now support marriage equality, is a $160 million plebiscite necessary, and what impact do you think the debate will have on the emotional wellbeing of gays and lesbians like me?” Alastair McKenzie asked the panel.
“I think it will only be damaging if all of us as Australians choose to actually not respect each other’s views in this particular debate,” Sen. McKenzie said. “I believe it is a conscience issue, and that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. Polls would suggest I’m in the minority.”
She also said she believes the current situation puts herself, and other lawmakers who agree with her, in a difficult situation and that a vote could resolve that issue.
“What I think is that there is tension for some MPs like myself on both sides of the aisle, between our desire to respect the sovereign will of the Australian people and our conscience in a representative democracy,” she said.
Her brother previously criticized her views in an op-ed where he called her views “extremely hurtful.”
“Public statements promoting inequity only serve to perpetuate the isolation and marginalize those youths questioning their sexuality,” he wrote. “Growing up in the country can be tough and isolating, growing up gay in the country in the 1990s was horrific. Given her own story and connection, I had hoped to see a more courageous and compassionate response.”
Watch video of the exchange below.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) September 12, 2016