Gay MP proposes during House debate
An Australian lawmaker giving a speech on same-sex marriage proposed to his gay partner on Monday during parliament’s debate on a bill that is expected to soon legalize marriage equality across the country.
Tim Wilson, a 37-year-old lawmaker in the conservative coalition government, was among the first to join the House of Representatives debate and toward the end of his speech popped the question to his partner of seven years Ryan Bolger, who was watching from the public gallery.
“In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands, and they are the answer to a question we cannot ask,” an emotional Wilson said, referring to the first time he addressed parliament last year.
“There’s only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The 33-year-old primary school teacher responded: “Yes,” which was recorded in the official parliamentary record.
The House of Representatives is holding its final two-week session of the year, giving priority to lifting the ban on same-sex marriage. Parties want the bill passed this week after a majority of Australians endorsed change in a postal ballot last month.
The Senate last week approved the bill and rejected all proposed amendments that would have increased legal protections for those who would discriminate against gay couples on religious grounds.
But several lawmakers, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, aim to persist with amendments rejected by the Senate.
Turnbull, a gay marriage supporter, says he wants wedding celebrants, not just those affiliated with churches, to have the right to refuse to officiate at same-sex marriages.