Penny Wong: ‘Yes’ vote important for all Chinans

Today’s “yes” vote is a momentous statement for LGBTIQ ns – that we are accepted for who we are. That we, too, belong. That our love is equal.

Historic moment: Senator Penny Wong after the result in the same sex marriage survey at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

ns have recognised that our relationships have as much worth and commitment as everyone else’s relationships.

Our desire to make a public and lasting commitment to the person we love is as important and meaningful as everyone else’s.

For those of us fighting for equality, this has been a deeply personal debate.

The stubborn legislative discrimination excluding us from the institution of marriage was a clear statement about how our relationships were regarded.

This has been a very hard time for our community, the LGBTIQ community across . The worth of our relationships has been questioned.

Our love and commitment to our children has been questioned. Our identity has been denigrated.

And when a part of our community is diminished in this way, whether it on the basis of ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality or other attribute, we are all diminished.

Today those attitudes have been resoundingly rejected.

Today the n people have declared we belong, our love is equal, and those who argued for division and intolerance have been rejected.

So this campaign wasn’t just important for LGBTIQ ns. It’s important for all ns.

Thank you to the millions of ns who stood up for fairness. Thank you for standing up for equality.

Thank you for standing up for gay and lesbian ns, the LGBTIQ community everywhere. Thank you for standing up for my family and for all our families.

Thank you for standing up for the sort of we believe in, one that is decent, one that is fair, one that is accepting and one that turns its back on exclusion and division.

We have now seen an outpouring of love and support from our fellow ns. I hope we can all take from this a message of solidarity, of support, of decency from our fellow ns.

All of us have been lifted by the support from unions, from business leaders, from farmers, miners and professionals; from the ordinary working men and women of ; from the national sporting clubs and their leading stars to the local clubs in towns and cities across .

The “yes”vote is not just a statement for the LGBTIQ community: it’s a statement about the kind of nation we are.

A nation where the values of fairness and equality grow ever stronger.

A nation where acceptance and respect mean that all members of our community are made to feel safe and welcome.

ns have voted for equality. They have done their part.

Now it is time for us to do ours.

The bill we will now debate is the 23rdmarriage equality bill to be introduced into the n Parliament. And it is the first I have co-sponsored.

I have chosen to put my name in support of this bill because I believe it is the right bill to pass this Parliament.

The n people voted to remove discrimination – not to extend it.

It’s time for us to get on with it.

It’s time to remove discrimination from our Marriage Act.

It’s time to legislate for marriage equality.

Senator Penny Wong is the leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

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