Gilmore’s mixed feelings on marriage equality

Gilmore marriage equality activist Dawn Hawkins meets pro same sex marriage icon Magda Szubanski in Canberra this week.
Gilmore marriage equality activist Dawn Hawkins meets pro same sex marriage icon Magda Szubanski in Canberra this week.

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis was one of 80 politicians to speak about the same-sex marriage bill in parliament on Tuesday, in a session that finished at midnight.

She told the chamber that in just four years, attitudes of her constituents have changed.

“Back in 2013, I truly believed that Gilmore was a fairly evenly divided electorate on this issue,” Mrs Sudmalis said.

”Over time, and especially with the gentle and persuasive efforts of Dawn Hawkins, who happens to be here,  from Marriage Equality Gilmore, there was a move in the community to social acceptance.”

She read out emails from those in support of marriage equality, and those opposed to marriage equality. 

“‘We believe, first and foremost, that marriage must be defined as that between a man and a woman, without any alternative, for marriage to be marriage,’” Mrs Sudmalis said.

“‘We are also convinced that, despite so many failed marriages in society, the traditional marriage set-up provides the best environment in which to bring up children – for their physical, social, mental and spiritual nurture and ongoing development. We are writing to you because we also uphold vigorously the Christian call to stand for that which will maintain wisdom and hope for us all. We are grateful to be able to express our opinions in this way and ask you to take these into account when you are called to vote on this crucial piece of legislation.’”

She told the parliament this view was not atypical.

Mrs Sudmalis also read an excerpt from a same-sex couple who are raising a child together.

“‘Thank you again for spending time with Flynn and I in Kiama last week to discuss marriage equality,’” she said.

“‘Unfortunately, I now feel disheartened regarding the prospect of marrying Paula any time soon. I still feel strongly that we should be able to refer to our life-long commitment as 'marriage' rather than an alternative reference that is solely for same-sex commitments. This would make us feel that our relationship is normal, equal and accepted by society.’”

She affirmed she would back the result of the survey, and vote yes to marriage equality.

“It is my deepest wish that whatever our differences we continue to respect each other's choices and live our lives according to the best of our collective principles and values,” Mrs Sudmalis said.

Today, the house of representatives may vote on marriage equality, if amendments to the bill are not passed.

Gilmore marriage equality activist Dawn Hawkins will watch the conversation from the gallery.

“It looks very close regarding amendments,” she said.

“I’d be very disappointed if the amendments were passed, I do not believe there’s any need for amendments.”

The amendments involve extra religious protections, and, if passed, the bill will return to the senate.

It’s been an encouraging week for Ms Hawkins, who has met with Magda Szubanski and various campaigners she has worked alongside.

“I’m here to watching our equality come into reality,” Ms Hawkins said.

“It’s been my every living moment the past two years.

“I’ve been connecting up with people who have been a part of the marriage equality campaign.

“It’s wonderful to be in the company of everyone.”