AAP • 17/09/2012
The same-sex marriage debate has a personal dimension for Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who has a transgender partner.
An emotional Senator Pratt has told the Senate the law as it stands discriminates against her relationship and those of many other Australians.
“I am one of those hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens who knows that the laws of our nation hold our capacity for love and for commitment to be lesser because of the gender of our partner,” she said on Monday.
“One of hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens who knows that the laws of our nation say we are less deserving of rights, respect and recognition.
“We know that those ideas are not true and that the laws that reinforce them are not right.
“This debate has a personal impact for me.”
Debate on the Labor and Greens-sponsored bill that would legalise same-sex marriage was interrupted in the Senate on Monday when the house turned its attention to legislation banning super trawlers from fishing in Australian waters.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said change was inevitable and might occur sooner if Prime Minister Julia Gillard provided greater leadership.
“It is part of our nature to give people a fair go, to not get hung up on the differences between us,” she said.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis said the opposition would not support the bill.
“All of a sudden, within the last few years, this institution so derided by you has been rediscovered by you as the test of whether or not one cares about the issue of sexuality discrimination,” he said.
Veteran Nationals Senator Ron Boswell said families with two mothers and two fathers could not properly raise children.
“Who takes the boy to football? … How does he go camping and fishing?
“What about a young girl … is it fair to say to her you don’t have a mother to take you shopping?”
Senator Boswell warned that many parents would object to children being taught about gay marriage in schools if it was legalised.
Debate on the marriage equality bill, which is identical to one in the lower house, is expected to resume on Tuesday.