Page 3574 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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Marriage equality, to us, is about recognising and protecting that love and commitment. It is about providing the same recognition to our relationship that our friends and family receive in their relationships. It is about respect. It is about dignity. The word “marriage” carries a high level of respect and dignity in our society. It is about family; our family. It is about being treated fairly and equally.

We celebrated our relationship by joining in a civil union just over one year ago. On a rainy day in the cherry blossom-filled Nara Park, we were accompanied by our family to publicly declare our love and commitment to one another. The sun came out just in time for the ceremony, we stood in front of our family members, teary-eyed, and declared our union. It was wonderful. But it wasn’t marriage. It was very special. But it did not carry the same dignity as marriage. It was a step on the path to equality; a step towards the respect that so many take for granted.

We are Chris and Dylan. We are a family. Our love binds us together. And we look forward to the day when we are treated like any other family. Today is the next step on that path to equality.

Amy and Jess wrote me a letter about their story:

After you asked if you could share our story I thought, “What's remarkable about us?!” But that’s kinda the point, isn't it? We’re a normal couple like everybody else.

Jessica is the love of my life. She is my best friend, my lover & my partner. I never knew what forever meant until I fell in love with Jessy.

Like a lot of couples we met through our work & our shared passion & commitment for what we do is something brings meaning to our lives.

We have been together for 6 years. In that time we have shared happiness & sadness, joy & loss, blessings & death.

We have recently bought a house and are now experiencing the greatest joy. I am 6 months pregnant with our 1st child.

This legislation shows that the ACT government understands that same sex couples want to be treated like everybody else, to have the same opportunities & same rights as everybody else.

That’s what marriage equality means to me, that we are a couple and a family—just like everybody else.

It matters to me because when our child asks us if we’re married, I would like to be able to say we chose not to, not that we can’t.

But I’m not just here at the Legislative Assembly today to support marriage equality. I’m here to show my support for our local Labor Party. For decades they have been at the forefront of the acknowledging the rights & opportunities of all families.

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