gay Australian MP

A gay Australian MP proposed to his long-term partner during a debate on legalising same-sex marriage.

Tim Wilson, a Liberal MP, fought back tears as he popped the question to boyfriend Ryan Bolger in the country’s House of Representatives.

The occasion was the first time an MP has proposed on the floor of the House.

The Speaker recorded the moment for Hansard – including noting that his partner had said “yes” from the gallery.

He went on to say: “In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands – that they are the answer to the questions we cannot ask.

“So there is only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”

Mr Bolger, who was sitting in the public gallery, responded swiftly with a “yes” as the floor erupted in applause, and house speaker Rob Mitchell added: “That was a ‘yes’, a resounding ‘yes’. Congratulations, well done mate.”

Earlier this month Australians gave their overwhelming backing to equal marriage in a public vote, by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%.
The national postal ballot was non-binding, however, leaving the final decision on legislation up to Parliament.

The House of Representatives is currently debating a motion to introduce marriage for same-sex couples, which is expected to pass easily.

However there may be a number of ‘religious freedoms’ included in the bill, which make it legal for service providers to reject gay couples.

The Australian Senate has officially voted for same-sex marriage last week.

The bill was the 21st same-sex marriage bill to be brought before the Senate, and the first to succeed.

mpSenators voted by 43 votes to 12 in favour of progressing the legislation.

Almost all Labor senators, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Derryn Hinch and members of the ruling Liberal-National Coalition voted in favour.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is on course to meet his pledge of legislating for the historic social reform before Christmas.

The Marriage Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced by Dean Smith, the first openly LGBT member of parliament from the Liberal Party and a passionate supporter of marriage equality.

mpAlex Greenwich of the Equality Campaign said: “The senate has acted on the mandate that the Australian people delivered and have voted overwhelmingly for fairness and equality.

“Just as Australians came together for marriage equality, so has the Senate, and now it’s time for the momentum to carry the reform through the House of Representatives.

“We got here thanks to the hard work and passionate campaigning of so many people across the country who stood up for a fair go for all.”

“The senate has acted on the mandate that the Australian people delivered and have voted overwhelmingly for fairness and equality.”

mpAnna Brown of the Equality Campaign said: “This victory is the culmination of more than a decade’s work by supporters of equality.

“Each and every person who has campaigned for equality, each Australian who stood up and voted YES, and, today, every Senator from every political party who voted in favour of equality and fairness.

“During the debate we saw history being made with LGBTI members from all major parties leading the debate. Our supporters in parliament stared down efforts by religious conservatives to introduce new forms of discrimination against LGBTI people.”

mpShe continued: “Australians did their job and overwhelmingly said YES to marriage equality in one of the biggest political mandates in Australian history.

“It is now time for the House of Representatives to pass the marriage equality Bill so Australia can move forward as a fairer and more equal nation.”

Green party senator Sarah Hanson-Young gave an emotional speech urging Parliament to take this momentous step.

The senator, a consistent support of LGBT rights, paid tribute to the Greens’ former Parliamentary Leader Bob Brown.

She told her fellow politicians: “When Bob retired, in 2012, I said to him: ‘Bob, I’m really sorry that we weren’t able to reverse that awful law before your time was up.’”

Then, she started to cry.

“Today … Today I stand here with my Greens colleagues, finishing the job that Bob Brown started.”