George Brandis delivers moving speech during marriage bill debate

Attorney General George Brandis has delivered a moving speech in support of marriage equality as the senate debates the bill which will allow same sex couples to wed.

In his speech Senator Brandis recounted how the decriminalisation of Homosexuality had begun in South Australia 45 years ago, and one by one all Australian states had followed, with Tasmania being the last to change the laws in 1997.

The Attorney General said Australians had been on a long journey of creating equality for LGBTI people, describing it as a journey first of toleration, then of acceptance, then of respect and, at last, of embrace.

Describing the changes to the marriage act as the “last bastion” of the fight for equality, Senator Brandis turned his comments to the positive effect the changes would have on young LGBTI people.

“I want to reflect for a moment on the message this will send, in particular, to young gay people: to the boy or girl who senses a difference from their friends, which they find difficult to understand and impossible to deal with.

“In his first speech in the Parliament, my friend Tim Wilson spoke movingly of his own experience of confronting that knowledge, as a tormenting fear “that took an energetic 12-year-old and hollowed his confidence to eventually doubt his legitimate place in the world”.

“How many hundreds of thousands of young Australians have known that fear? How many have lived with it, silently and alone? How many have failed to come to terms with it and been overborne by it?

“By passing this bill, we are saying to those vulnerable young people:  there is nothing wrong with you. You are not unusual.  You are not abnormal.  You are just you.  There is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to hide.

“You are a normal person and, like every other normal person, you have a need to love. How you love is how God made you. Whom you love is for you to decide and others to respect.” Senator Brandis said.

Senator Brandis said Australia was one of the last English speaking countries to embrace marriage equality, but argued that the postal survey had made the people’s wishes clear.

“Australia may have been slow to reach this day – we are the last of the English-speaking democracies, and one of the last countries in what was once called Western Christendom – to embrace marriage equality.

“But when that day did come, it came triumphantly, it came joyously, and it came, most importantly, from the Australian people themselves. Like all of the best and most enduring social change, it was not imposed from above. The will for it germinated in the hearts and minds of the people themselves.

“Now that the Australian people have spoken, it is for us, their elected representatives, to respond.” Senator Brandis said.

Senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill has now progressed to it’s second reading and senators are now discussing if any amendments will be required before the bill is put up for a vote.


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