Page 2761 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013
relationship for 43 years; you have probably got an opinion.” They have said it is okay if I quote them, so I will selectively quote what they said. I will leave the family, tedious bits about what we have been doing on the latest holidays alone, but I will quote the relevant bits:
Our desire to enter into a civil partnership (which we did, day 2 of the Bill being given Royal Assent) was simply to ensure that we safeguarded two matters. One, that our relationship was put on an equal financial footing to heterosexual couples in all respects, and two, to ensure that each would be legally accepted as the next of kin of the other. Neither of us was particularly interested in the ceremony or anything related to it, we simply wanted to ensure that we were treated as equals, in all respects, to married couples. Beyond this we are not the least bit interested in getting married. Being older we believe and accept that marriage is formalizing a relationship between two people one male and one female. Furthermore our personal view is that we do not see any advantage in getting married as it would not in any way enhance our relationship.
I accept that that is just one view—two views, I suppose, but they have the same view—and when I wrote to them I said, “I accept you might have different views on this; I don’t want to cause a squabble.” But they came back with the same view, which is probably quite fortunate.
I read that to make the point that there are a broad cross-section of views in our community, and that includes people who are gay—people who have been, as in the case of Uncle Mike and Uncle Ian, in a relationship for 43 years. As we move forward with this debate, we should not let this become something that becomes polarising, and we should make sure that there are a variety of views.
A consistent view amongst everybody I have spoken to, be they gay or heterosexual, is that everybody should have the same legal defence, the same legal protections, whether it be about their estate or about their financial dealings at the moment.
I do not imagine that this is the last time that we will be talking about this issue in the Assembly. I think it should be. I am very happy to put our position on the record, and I will do so repeatedly. I am very happy to emphasise the point about the legal protections. But I do believe, strongly, regardless of the views that I hold or that others hold within the Liberal Party, that these are debates we should have in the federal parliament, just as the debate we had this morning about refugees should have been held in the federal parliament.
I thank Dr Bourke for bringing this forward so that we can emphasise our point about legal protections. I think that is important, and it is good that we all share that view. But with regard to the points that he made about marriage, I think our position is quite clear.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.47): I thank Dr Bourke for bringing this very significant topic to the ACT Assembly. As a Greens representative, I am particularly