The same-sex wedding bells may be ringing stateside, but marriage equality hit a speed bump in Australia recently when the governing coalition moved to block a vote on the issue in parliament.
The decision will stall progress for quite some time, as it would take a large number of MPs openly voting against their party to pass the measure. The ruling coalition voted 66-33 to order lawmakers to follow party lines.
One senator, Eric Abetz, even cited unmarried gay fashion moguls Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana as examples of his belief that most gay men don’t even want to marry. “Lots of homosexuals don’t want to get married, Dolce and Gabbana never got married,” he blindly declared.
By that logic we could say that most Australians wrestle crocodiles and carry big knives.
Following the blow, Labor MP Tim Watts threw out his prepared remarks to speak from the heart — a move usually reserved for the poignant third act of a film. And the effect was the same.
“Reading Senator Abetz’s comments made me wonder whether he had ever met a gay man before,” he begins.
Watts delivers touching remarks, speaking highly of his gay uncle Derek, who died of AIDS.
“He would have wanted me to say to Senator Abetz: Do not claim to understand what gay Australians want,” he says. “Do not tell them what they do and don’t want. Do not use the law to deny them the equal right to choose the same recognition for their relationships as heterosexual couples.”
“We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact we are dealing with serious issues of human dignity and illegal discrimination in this debate. [LGBT rights] is a cause that all of us in this place should take seriously.”