Australia’s new Deputy Prime Minister once called gays ‘sordid’ and ‘unnatural’ and has a history of homophobia.

Michael McCormack was elected the Nationals Party leader in a party room meeting on Monday morning (26 February). His election came after another anti-gay politician, Barnaby Joyce, resigned from the role.

Joyce, who long lectured the public on family values – especially during the postal survey on marriage equality – stepped down as Nationals leader after he cheated on his wife with one his staff and got her pregnant.

The Nationals Party runs on a platform of protecting regional Australia. It has a longstanding coalition with the governing conservative Liberal Party. When the Liberals are in power, the Nationals leader becomes Deputy PM.

Many in the LGBTI community have denounced his election because of his homophobic stance on issues.

In a 1993 op-ed he wrote: ‘a week never goes by anymore that homosexuals and their sordid behaviour don’t become further entrenched in society’.

‘Unfortunately gays are here and, if the disease their unnatural acts helped spread doesn’t wipe out humanity, they’re here to stay,’ McCormack wrote in The Daily Advertiser.

Time to heal wounds

McCormack has since apologized for the column saying his views had evolved but advocates said the damage was already done.

LGBTI advocate, Rodney Croome, said McCormack had to heal the ‘wounds caused by past hate’.

‘Many LGBTI Australians will be justifiably concerned about Michael McCormack being our Deputy Prime Minister given his hateful comments against us in the past,’ Croome said.

‘He needs to get behind initiatives that will reduce the unacceptably high levels of LGBTI isolation, prejudice and suicide that still exist in some parts of rural Australia.’

This article was originally published on Gay Star News. Read the original article.