An impassioned speech opposing the same-sex marriage plebiscite, delivered by Labor frontbencher Penny Wong, has garnered huge praise.
The "Sea of Hearts" display launched in support of marriage equality yesterday.
"The reality is this is all a stunt and everybody knows that", she said.
Wong added that the Australian Christian Lobby, whose director once drew parallels between same-sex marriage advocates and the rise by Nazi Germany, referred to the children of gay couples as "the stolen generation"; the term refers to indigenous and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcefully separated from their parents by white Australians between 1910-1970. It is not a unifying moment. "It's exposing our children to that kind of hatred". If the Prime Minister were prepared to stand up and say, 'That is wrong'.
Mr Abbott was quickly rebuked by his sister, openly gay Liberal councillor Christine Forster, who said: "If you value mutual respect: vote yes".
She continued: "They simply can not countenance people like me and others being equal".
"And I say to you if you don't like same-sex marriage, vote 'No, '" he said.
Voting "no" would "stop political correctness in its tracks".
"Australians are able and have demonstrated that they can have a respectful discussion".
"If you value mutual respect: vote yes".
The vote took place two days after members of Australia's ruling party blocked efforts to allow a conscience vote in the country's parliament on the issue. (AAP) The senator made her powerful speech this afternoon.
Tiernan Brady of Australian Marriage Equality, a group that supports marriage rights for same-sex couples in the country, pointed out to the Washington Blade the parliament has rejected the proposed plebiscite twice. Maybe he can stand up for some people who don't have a voice. He says it's a awful reason, to not trust the Australian people, don't be silly; of course we can have a sensible debate. "I am sure we can go through a whole range of things that $122 million can be spent on far better than a vote that is not going to be binding".
There would be no publicly funded "yes" and "no" campaigns.
Marriage equality lobbyist Tiernan Brady, executive director of The Equality Campaign, said Mr Abbott's comments were created to deliberately deceive the public. "They're not going to change their minds on this issue".
A High Court challenge against the government's proposed postal vote on same-sex marriage will be lodged this week.
She also criticised the Prime Minister for his absence in the discussion. I can't imagine watching it and coming away still supporting a postal plebiscite, though the government is doing just that.
Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann on Wednesday is moving to restore the government's same-sex marriage plebiscite bill to the Senate's agenda after it was defeated by the upper house past year.
Labor, the Greens and most crossbench senators have signalled they will block the bill for a second time after quashing the plebiscite initially in November.