Page 434 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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(a) making a tri-partisan statement in support of marriage equality by forwarding this motion to the Prime Minister, signed by the leaders of all ACT Legislative Assembly parties; and

(b) continuing to actively engage and support the LGBTIQ community by actively supporting LGBTIQ public events and activities across Canberra.

Madam Speaker, Labor wants marriage equality for all Canberrans. We want this not just because it is the right thing to do, but because we must say no to homophobia in our community. I am proud to be a member of a Labor government that has such strong role models for young LGBTIQ Canberrans.

We are committed to social inclusion for all and we will always support those in our community facing discrimination. It is my fundamental belief that all Canberrans are equal. It is not their race, religion, gender or sexuality which determines their worth, but the content of their character. That is my belief.

The ACT Labor government’s commitment to marriage equality states clearly our belief that all people are entitled to respect, both in their community and from their government. This government is known for leading the nation on LGBTIQ issues. It was, after all, this government which legislated in 2013 for same-sex marriage. This five-day period before the High Court intervention was a window for many into the love and generosity that same-sex marriage legislation will bring with it. It affirmed for many the fundamental good that is recognising all love as worthy of respect.

The ACT government has much to be proud of in supporting the LGBTIQ community. We recognise same-sex relationships through the Domestic Partnerships Act. We passed civil partnership legislation to recognise relationships regardless of sexuality. We updated the definition of “intersex” to better reflect community standards. We have given parents greater flexibility on how they are referenced on their children’s birth certificates. We have supported, and will continue to support, safe schools.

We have supported those who support the LGBTIQ community like the AIDS Action Council, the SpringOUT festival, A Gender Agenda, Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT and the LGBTIQ Advisory Council. Conservatives have opposed all of this progress and today they still continue to fight progress.

I have bad news for these conservative stalwarts. You are wrong and you will lose this fight as you have lost many before. It is not a matter of if but when marriage equality becomes law. Many of these vocal critics have complained that our desire to introduce same-sex marriage is tokenistic and an ineffective move to address discrimination. They are wrong on both counts. To quote Macklemore, as many of my colleagues like to, “a certificate on paper isn’t gonna to solve it all but it’s a damn good place to start”.

It is not tokenistic to show that their love is equal and, most of all, this government has had a damn good start fighting homophobia. Worse, some have advocated that homosexuality is an abomination. These uninformed and hateful views have no place in modern Canberra. We will combat ignorance as we always have; with patience, compassion and determination. This government will continue to fight homophobia.

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