Of all the speakers about marriage equality in the Senate’s debate yesterday, Western Australia’s Louise Pratt was the most passionate and memorable.
“I, like thousands of other Australians, was hurt and dismayed when the Federal Parliament back in 2004 took steps to entrench discrimination into our nation’s Marriage Act,” Pratt, who has a transgender partner, told the Senate.
“The Act does discriminate against me. I am one of those thousands of Australian citizens who know that the laws of our nation hold our capacity for love the commitment to be lesser because of the gender of our partner.”
Her voice breaking as she holds back tears, she continued, “When voting for this Bill, all we ask is that you stop pretending that our relationships are not as real as yours, our love as true, our children as cherished, our families as precious – because they are.”
Watch Senator Louise Pratt’s emotional speech below.
Another strong speaker was the Greens’ leader Christine Milne, but she said she wondered why the legislation was being brought forward now. “This is an attempt by the government to take this issue off the agenda before the general election next year,” she asserted.
“This is an attempt to bring it on, have the legislation defeated and then say ‘this is not an issue’… well I have to say, regardless of the outcome of this Bill, the Greens’ Bill will stay on the books, and it will continue to be an issue right until the 2013 election.”
A deal with trade union leader Joe De Bruyn and the Australian Christian Lobby is to blame, she said, since he was concerned that with Gillard’s support around 80% of the Labor Party would vote in favour of marriage equality.
Greens’ leader Christine Milne’s speech is shown below.
Among the six speeches in Parliament yesterday, three were in favour, while six spoke against the Bill. Of the speakers against, Queensland Senator Ron Boswell was the most Jurassic, moaning about how boys growing up with two mothers wouldn’t get to go fishing or camping.
“Two mothers or two fathers can’t raise a child properly,” the 71-year-old huffed. “Who takes the boy to football? Who tells him what’s right from wrong?”
Boswell believes there’s “no support for gay marriage amongst blue collar workers” and that proponents of it “haven’t thought it through.”
The debate continues in the Senate today. Less than half of the 76-seat senate’s MP’s so far say they’ll support the Bill, so the vote – expected on Wednesday – will be tight.