Page 3575 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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It has been a long road from the Follett government’s Domestic Relationship Act but now the ACT is rightfully going to be the first place in the country to offer full recognition to same sex couples.

But just as much as I am proud to support a government that stands up for Territorians. Our child will be fourth generation Canberran and it’s important to us that this government is willing to legislate, and then stand up for, the community that our families are proud to be a part of.

Jessy & I want all the same things heterosexual couples want—and this legislation recognises that.

I personally found both couples’ stories incredibly touching, but I disagree with one part of Amy’s letter. I think Jess and Amy are remarkable, and I think that what is remarkable about them and Chris and Dylan and Ivan and Chris is exactly the same thing that is remarkable about everyone in our community, regardless of who they call family. What makes all families remarkable is that, in between the combination of things that makes our lives busy—work, volunteering, study, washing, gardening or endless renovations—people find the time to care for each other.

I am proud to know so many advocates who have devoted countless hours to see their relationships recognised. But I honestly think all the work would have been done in vain had it not been for so many brave people who overcame the voices in our community who told them that they were wrong and to just get on with living their lives and caring for one another.

At the start of my speech I spoke about Ivan and how the fight for equality took up his day. I think that is truer than even he recognises. I think Ivan and Chris make the case for equality every minute of every day. They do it by contributing equally to our city, by committing equally to each other, by sacrificing equally for their families and by loving one another, just like everybody else.

I probably did not need to speak so long because this debate has already been won. It has been won by everyone in this room and around the country who, in spite of what the law said, contributed, committed to, sacrificed and loved one another regardless of their gender, and I would like to thank you all—my Assembly colleagues and everybody here in the gallery and the reception room today—for the privilege of being able to vote to recognise the equality of what love is in our laws.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.13): I rise today to support this motion. In doing so, I am confident that I am standing on the right side of history. I am standing up for the marginalised and oppressed in the community who have fought long and hard to obtain equal rights. I am proud to rise today and proud that every one of my Labor colleagues in this place is rising with me.

Labor has a proud history of standing up for those who have been oppressed or marginalised in our community. The Australian government, led by Labor Prime Minister the Hon Gough Whitlam, held the first national conference from 31 August to 6 September in 1975 on the status of women—women and politics—and

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