Page 447 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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When the High Court ruled on the ACT’s legislation it was disappointing, but it was about a legal technicality and not about the morality of ending marriage discrimination. Despite what we see in the news, it is not about individuals across various political parties. The win that we will have—and we will have a win; it is coming—is not about politics or the last-minute changes of heart from politicians who want to be on the right side of history. It is about everyone who came out today and who comes out every day to support this cause.

It is the love everyday LGBTIQ people have for each other and the way they have managed with extraordinary dignity to ignore the voices that said their relationships and families were second class that has made equality undeniable for a huge majority of Australians.

I had the privilege to tell the stories of Chris and Dylan and Amy and Jess when we passed the Marriage Equality Act, and I also was able to share their thoughts one year later in 2014. One of the questions asked by Jess and Amy one year later reminds us all about the importance of marriage equality and the unimportance of everything else that is going on around us. They asked, “Is discriminating against two women who love each other of such a high priority in these turbulent times?” That is a question we should continue to ask.

I was also able to share on that day the feelings of couples who were legally married for such a short period: Meg, Krishna and Veronica, and Darlene and Liz. Madam Speaker, it is not they or them; it is us and we. It is our friends and our families that have been affected by the continued move to deny marriage equality and a marriage between two people who love each other so much.

I particularly want to make reference to the stepping in by the ACT government to fund the safe schools program to help all students feel welcome and protected. The changes that were imposed by the federal government would have significantly limited a principal’s ability to make decisions about their schools and community. The ACT government stepped in to ensure that that funding would continue so that teenagers could be supported when they were unsure about their sexuality or whether they felt like they were being treated differently from others.

It can be really tough in school, and we wanted to make sure that every gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or queer person knew that their rights and their feelings mattered to the ACT Labor Party and the ACT government. The ACT government have made a commitment to fund the safe schools coalition with $100,000, and we did that within the first hundred days of government. We look forward to that program being delivered in our schools so that our children can understand and know that they are loved by all of us, regardless of their sexuality. I thank Mr Pettersson for bringing this motion on today. I absolutely support and commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.09): I, too, rise to speak in support of Mr Pettersson’s motion. I thank him very much for bringing it forward today, and I thank all of my colleagues for their passionate support of this

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