Candidate ‘a dinosaur'

A FAMILY First candidate who said legitimising gay marriage was ‘like legalising child abuse' has been dismissed as a ‘social dinosaur' by a local gay rights activist.

Angela Pollard, who is organising a public rally in favour of gay marriage in Lismore this weekend, said the comments by Family First's lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Wendy Francis, were the ‘echoes' of an old society.

The Northern Rivers has regional Australia's biggest gay and lesbian population.

On social networking website Twitter, Ms Francis said on Sunday: “Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.”

The comment was later deleted, but Ms Francis was yesterday reported saying she stood by the comment and deleted it only because she and the people helping her were being ‘overwhelmed' by the number of – mostly angry –responses to it.

Ms Pollard yesterday said Ms Francis's comments represented the views of a small fraction of Australians.

“They are social dinosaurs on their way out and I'm not afraid of people like that,” she said.

Ms Pollard said many people now knew people in gay or lesbian relationships, and often with children.

“It is disappointing in 2010 that someone could hold such outdated beliefs on same-sex relationships,” Ms Pollard said.

“Much of the community has moved on a long way from those beliefs.”

Ms Francis yesterday said the comments were posted on Twitter by someone in her office, but then went on to say children raised by same-sex couples faced the same ‘emotional abuse' experienced by the Stolen Generations.

She denied being homophobic and said the Twitter users who responded so negatively to her had misunderstood her comments.

“This is not a gay rights issue, it's the rights of the child at stake here,” she said.

Ms Pollard said the comments would play poorly for Ms Francis at the August 21 election.

“She represents the fringe, the extreme,” she said.

“It's how these people get their votes. They are appealing to the worst fears of people who are homophobic.

“She's looking for a vote from people who don't feel comfortable with same-sex couples.

“They are a small percentage of people who want to keep us as being ‘weird' and ‘strange' and ‘sick'.”

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