Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 February 2017) . . Page.. 441 ..
I have also spent time with other couples whose love is no less and whose willingness and hope to share in marriage is no smaller than those whose weddings I have conducted. Some of the couples have been young and looking to start life together; others have been more advanced in years. Some have been in previous long-term relationships; and others have not. Some are looking to raise a family; others are not. Some are already raising children and doing so in a way which is loving, supporting and life-enhancing. But for this second group of couples, because they are of the same gender, they cannot legally marry here.
I am sadly confronted most clearly by the situation of two brothers I know well. For one, I had the wonderful opportunity several years back of helping to plan and then conduct the wedding ceremony for him and his wife. For the other, whose love is just as deep, the current gender-based limitations in the Marriage Act mean that no such planning or ceremony is yet possible for him and his partner.
For all of the bluster, for all of the unfounded predictions of ongoing damage to our civilisation or the erosion of our freedoms and for all of the unhelpful calls for an unnecessary, costly and hurtful plebiscite, the reality is particularly simple.
As has been decided by the High Court of Australia, the change to the Marriage Act is in the hands of the Australian parliament. I look forward to the day when this change will be made. In the meantime I am proud to be part of a government that will continue to foster a society which does not discriminate against our LGBTIQ members.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (10.29): I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing forward this important motion and I want to add my strong support.
This is a continuation of the ACT government’s ongoing advocacy and actions to equally recognise same-sex relationships. I am proud to be part of this government, which has brought forward legislative reforms, provided funding for the safe schools program and is establishing the Office for LGBTIQ Affairs to coordinate our efforts. I note, as my colleagues have done, that we have not seen our responsibilities as just being limited to the ACT and to this Assembly; and I note that the opposition must agree, because the next motion on the notice paper refers to that view as well.
We will continue to advocate to the federal government that it must act to address this egregious inequality, and we will continue to pin our colours to the mast—this week quite literally in the rainbow flags adorning our city—and demonstrate our support for the LGBTIQ community by supporting events and activities. Everyone in our society deserves an equal chance to live a happy, productive and fulfilling life, and it is the mark of a truly progressive society that we continue to call out and tackle discrimination, whether it is direct or subtle.
By denying marriage equality to all members of society, whatever else we may say