Australian lawmaker proposes to partner in same-sex marriage debate

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An Australian lawmaker proposed to his partner in parliament on Monday, as the lower house in Canberra began debating same-sex marriage legislation.

Tim Wilson, a member of the ruling conservative Liberal Party, used the debate on the bill to ask his long-term partner, Ryan Bolger, to marry him.

Bolger, a school teacher, who was present in the chamber gallery, said “yes,” to loud applause.

“This debate has been the soundtrack to our relationship,” said Wilson, an outspoken advocate for gay rights. “We both know this isn’t the reason we got involved in politics – give us tax reform any day!”

The bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed the Senate, or upper house, last week.

The legislation was introduced following a legally non-binding postal survey, in which nearly 62 per cent of Australians voted in favour of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Warren Entsch, a veteran Liberal lawmaker who helped draft the bill, introduced the House of Representatives debate on Monday by warning parliamentarians against stalling its passage.

“Who is it to say that another person should be denied equal rights or that their love is in some way less because of who they love?” he said, adding that Australians were sick of excuses and delays.

“This bill will take from no one. It simply makes a nation a kinder and fairer place,” said Entsch, who wore a rainbow tie.

A final vote is expected this week.

credit: NAN

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