Scott Morrison, a straight white Christian male politician, claims he has experienced the same sort of "hatred and bigotry" which face LGBTI people striving for marriage equality.
Morrison, whose electorate of Cook includes the expensive beachside Sydney suburbs of Cronulla and Sans Souci, appeared on ABC Radio National on Wednesday. After talk about house prices and Medicare, Morrison was asked about a speech made by Labor Senator Penny Wong on Tuesday night. Wong spoke about the planned marriage equality plebiscite and other LGBTI issues,
"A plebiscite designed to deny me and many other Australians a marriage certificate will instead license hate speech to those who need little encouragement," she said.
"Mr Turnbull, and many commentators on this subject, don't understand that for gay and lesbian Australians hate speech is not abstract. It's real. It's part of our everyday life."
On Radio National, Morrison said he had "respect" for Wong's concerns, because he too had experienced such adversity.
"I respect Penny's concern, and am sensitive to the issues she has raised," the treasurer said.
"I have a different view to that, frankly people of strong religious views, they have been subjected to quite dreadful hate speech and bigotry as well. It is not confined to one side of this debate."
"I understand the concern Penny is raising. I know it from personal experience, having been exposed to that sort of hatred and bigotry for the views I've taken, from others who have a different view to me."
Morrison's comments did not go down well online, with several journalists and Labor politicians taking him to task.
Honestly.— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) June 21, 2016
Has he ever feared for his safety on the street because of bigotry?
Worried about family disowning him? https://t.co/QBuAZL0wSq
Has been been accused of being incapable of being a parent? Has anyone ever proposed a national vote on whether he should have equal rights?— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) June 21, 2016
Is the rate of mental illness among young Liberals higher than among LGBTI teens? Suicide?— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) June 21, 2016
What a uncaring, self-absorbed thing to say.
the suffering of a kid being bullied for his sexuality? that's as nothing compared to the pain the Treasurer endures https://t.co/ixDjguxONe— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) June 21, 2016
Experiencing violence or harassment from homophobia is not the same as your views being mocked even if the latter is unpleasant #ausvotes— PatriciaKarvelas (@PatsKarvelas) June 21, 2016
ScoMo: people disagree with my stance on SSM.— Bec Shaw (@Brocklesnitch) June 21, 2016
Queer ppl: we get killed & abused & have our humanity debated & rights voted on.
Memo to @ScottMorrisonMP - pointing out how people backed by powerful, wealthy institutions vilify LGBTQ people isn't "bigotry", m8— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) June 21, 2016