Page 3565 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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Jeanette’s comments are perhaps a little more sombre but equally important. She said:

Many of our LGBTI youths are outcast by their families and friends when they come out and the suicide rate amongst LGBTI youth is higher than the norm. Marriage equality will be a lantern in the dark for these youth.

Molly simply said:

Proud, proud, proud!

Madam Speaker, today is a reminder of why it is such a privilege to be a member of this place. Every day as a member of the Assembly is a privilege with the opportunity to make a positive contribution for Canberra and its citizens. But today is a particular privilege, recognising the long and difficult campaign to get to this point and being given a chance to stand in support of this important reform.

On behalf of the Greens, I am proud to stand in support of this legislation. I am proud to stand for equality, I am proud to stand for decency and I am proud to stand for respect. But perhaps most simply, I am proud to stand in support of the notion that two people who love each other should be able to get married. Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy getting married!

MADAM SPEAKER: I understand that this is an important and significant day, but I would like to remind visitors that to occupy the seats in the gallery the standing orders and the practice of this place require no interjection and essentially no participation. I understand that this is an emotional time, but could I ask members to abide by the forms of the house.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.37): The bill we are debating today is about equality. It is about ending discrimination that currently exists for some members of our community. It is an important day in the history of the Legislative Assembly and that of the ACT. It is a proud day for the government and, I know, for many across our community. I welcome everyone here today in the public gallery and watching outside on television. Thank you for coming here to show your support for this bill. It is so nice to have you here and to see the chamber full.

Today you are the face of thousands of people who believe in this reform. You are not all in same-sex relationships and you do not all want to get married. But you, like us, believe that arbitrary discrimination against any group or any minority is wrong and must be made right.

We on this side of the chamber are prepared to challenge outdated legal notions and meet our responsibility to the people we represent to make sure that each and every one of you is treated with recognition, equality and fairness before the law. These are the principles which have brought us into government. They are the principles that the ACT community holds dear. They are the principles of ACT Labor and they are the principles of this bill.

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