Page 2931 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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ceremonies for couples because of the particular religious views of those celebrants. That is already allowed under the Marriage Act.

The proposed changes to the Marriage Act must be a non-religious decision. It is a decision for all of the people of Australia, for people of any faith and for people of no faith. We cannot, and we should not, be limited in this way. Our society is bigger than that. Marriage is bigger than that. And, of course, love is bigger than that.

We know that there is a diversity of views in the ACT. But a diversity of views does not mean that a government should remain neutral. That is a bizarrely conservative view that would suggest that the status quo should never, ever change, or at least that the change to the status quo should not be backed by any government. That is certainly not something on which we on this side of the Assembly would agree. We will, and we must, be respectful. We should also have the courage to stand for inclusion and for the rights of all ACT residents.

Finally, I thank Mr Parton for his comments about his desire to work together in a non-partisan way, and note that many members of the Assembly may wish to campaign for a yes vote in a respectful manner. I would like to reinforce the invitation to Mr Parton—and in fact to all members of the chamber, to their staff, to their friends, and to their family members—to the community mobilisation forum that is being held tonight at 6 pm at the Molonglo Theatre at the ANU. There, the discussion will be, in a non-partisan manner, about ways that people can help get this initiative over the line.

Everyone is welcome to be there. The forum will hear from Tiernan Brady, executive director of equality, about how members of the public can get involved should they wish to help campaign in a non-partisan, respectful way for this change. I look forward to being part of the campaign. I oppose the amendment, and I commend the Chief Minister’s motion.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (3.35): I rise to speak in support of the Chief Minister’s motion. The campaign for marriage equality in Australia has been long and at times heartbreaking, but today we find ourselves at an interesting point along the road to equality. Unfortunately, we have now been presented with an option of a postal survey to determine how LGBTIQ Australians should be viewed and treated. We have already seen and heard some of the hurtful debate targeted at same sex couples, their families and the broader community.

Marriage equality is about love and recognising that all love is equal. It is about recognising that LGBTIQ people are just the same as every other Australian. It is not an attack on religion; the change in law will only apply to state marriages and will not impact a person’s religious beliefs. Marriage equality will not result in dysfunctional families; same sex couples already foster loving and functional families, with children who are loved and cared for.

Hurtful arguments are irrelevant to the debate. It is important for LGBTI Canberrans, particularly young people, to know that the ACT government will continue to stand up for them and support the campaign for marriage equality. We know that a majority

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