Page 3564 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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One of the important impacts of marriage equality legislation is that it will help combat the wider problem of discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Every day LGBTI people in Australia face harassment and discrimination, and every day that governments deny marriage equality they institutionalise discrimination. The law quietly encourages this ill-treatment by saying, “These people are different; that is why they cannot be married.” It gives less value to people who are not heterosexual.

While I am proud to be supporting laws for same-sex marriage today, there is still much to change in Australia to help defeat discrimination and harassment. This will require ongoing education as well as specific law reform around the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, intersex and queer people. I hope that this Assembly continues to play a positive role in legislative reform in this area.

I would like to wrap up my remarks by reflecting again on what the passing of this bill here in the ACT, the first Australian jurisdiction to legislate same-sex marriage, means to some ACT residents. I said to them, “Why is it important that your Assembly does this?” Again, I will quote some of our constituents. Lauren said:

This is a brilliant reflection of the ACT’s commitment to reflecting the wants and needs of its community. Typically viewed as a conservative, boring and old place, Canberra is at the face of progress by undertaking this initiative. I am so very proud to be a Canberran.


I am thrilled to be living in the ACT as this happens. I can only hope that we will no longer be known as the home of the fats cats, but as the Rainbow Territory.

Mary said:

I feel ashamed that it has taken us so long to get to this place and delighted that the ACT has finally began this process to legislate for marriage equality.


I am very proud of the ACT being the first jurisdiction to legislate on marriage equality. I hope that the Australian Government respects the right of the people of the ACT to honour and recognise our own long-term loving relationships.

Lisa said:

Simply outstanding, well done Canberra. To be at the forefront of such an important issue shows how progressive members of our government are and how they understand equality for all is such an important issue.


I’m extremely proud that my lovely city—so often the butt of jokes—will be the first to legislate on marriage equality. We are truly a progressive and tolerant city which cares for both its social and natural environment.

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