Cory Bernardi

An Australian Senator has been forced to resign after he said that legalising gay marriage could lead to legalising bestiality.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi made the comment while speaking in parliament during a debate on a gay marriage bill on Tuesday.

“If we are prepared to redefine marriage so that it suits the latest criterion that two people who love each other should be able to get married irrespective of their gender… then what is the next step?” he said.

“The next step, quite frankly, is having three people or four people that love each other being able to enter into a permanent union endorsed by society.

“There are even some creepy people out there… [who] say it is okay to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals. Will that be a future step?”

The statement was slammed by those outside and within Bernardi’s party. One senior Liberal Party member called the comments “hysterical, alarmist [and] offensive”.

The head of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, said that, following the outcry, Bernardi had offered to resign, an offer that was accepted.

“They are views that I don’t share,” said Abbott. “They are views which I think many people will find repugnant.”

Meanwhile, one of four bills introduced into parliament to legalise same-sex marriage under Australian federal law was rejected in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Legislators voted 98 against and 42 in favour of the bill.

Under current law, marriage is strictly defined as being between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages performed in other countries are also not recognised in Australia.

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