Self-proclaimed senator for the Great Southern Dean Smith believes his public opposition to the recently defeated gay marriage bill was not a contradiction, despite being openly gay himself.
The Federal Liberal Senator for WA, who has an office in Albany and has been a regular face in the region since being sworn into Federal Parliament in May, spoke out in Parliament last week on the issue.
Mr Smith said there had been “a lot of expectation” prior to his speech to the Senate, but his position on the issue was a result of being honest with himself about his own beliefs.
“A lot of people were curious as to why a gay man would not support gay marriage, but my speech pointed to the complexity of the issue,” he said.
In his address last Wednesday, Mr Smith made it clear he was against discrimination, but said gay and lesbian people would not be empowered by legalising same-sex marriages.
“(My opposition) is an honest acknowledgement of the special and unique characteristics of the union described as marriage,” he told the Senate.
“Marriage is an institution that has a long and well-accepted definition – a definition that is heavily laden with cultural meaning and values, crafted by custom and by law over the years.
“I believe that the only matter which this parliament should concern itself with is the matter of treating relationships equally before the law.”
The senator claimed gay people were heavily divided on the issue of gay marriage and insisted he arrived at his opinion after years of careful consideration.
He filled a vacancy in the upper house left by Judith Adams who passed away in March.
Legislation for same-sex marriage was comprehensively voted down by Parliament last month.