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“There’s No Point Pretending That This Isn’t Deeply Personal”: Lawmaker Proposes During Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Public proposals can be a hit or miss, but the latest making headlines is a historical, beautiful thing. Australian MP Tim Wilson delivered a speech in favor of the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill of 2017 last night and ended it with a marriage proposal, making him the first case of a member proposing marriage from the House floor.

You can watch Wilson’s full speech here.

“This bill honors those who fought harder before us for less. For those today who have had to fight for the equal place at this nation’s table and represents the opportunity of generations to come to mature and adolescents without unnecessary doubt,” said Wilson before talking about different individuals who had written to him and his own experience giving a ring to his partner Ryan Patrick Bolger who sat in the gallery. He says about his own journey:

“There’s no point pretending that this isn’t deeply personal. It is a journey that I started when I was 12-years-old; it was referenced in my first speech. Like so many others at 18, I confronted the choice before me about whether I should live my life honestly or not at all. I still remember my thoughts at that crucial moment: if you give in, they win. That moment followed years of self-inspired haunting doubt that was externally reinforced by the legacy of social, cultural and legal stigmatization. I suspect many people find understanding these journeys difficult.

It’s so paralyzing because you can’t seek help from others. The people you should be able to turn to are the ones you fear speaking to the most because the cost of rejection is so high. As the Attorney-General remarked in another place, it can sometimes overcome. This bill rams a stake into the heart of that stigma and its legacy. If I could go back and tell that scared 18-year-old kid he’d be speaking here—surrounded by Trevor Evans and Trent Zimmerman, and also representing the party of his values with his partner, Ryan, in the gallery—on this bill, he wouldn’t have believed me.”

The proposal arrives at the conclusion when the MP says:

“Trust me! This debate has been the soundtrack to our relationship. We both know this issue isn’t the reason we got involved in politics—give us tax reform any day—but in my first speech I defined our bond by the rings that sit on both of our left hands, and that they are the answer to the question we cannot ask. So there’s only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”

The Deputy Speaker then says, “I should note for the Hansard that that was a yes, a resounding yes. Congratulations; well done mate.” Congratulations to Wilson and Bolger!

(via NPR, image: screencap)

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