Bernardi has let the beast out of the bag

Cory Bernardi's risible comments on same-sex marriage will put considerable pressure on Tony Abbott to convince voters he is engaged with their views.

The beastly outburst of Senator Cory Bernardi, in which he asked whether the "next step" after legalising same-sex marriage might be unions between three or four consenting adults or between humans and animals, has upset many – not least my jack-russell-cross Roxy, who clings to the hope her love for me will one day be sanctified.

It's hard to resist such jokes – Bernardi's comments were so extreme as to be risible. However, for the Coalition their impact will be deadly serious.

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