Australian politician Tim Wilson asked his longtime partner to marry him during a speech on the same-sex marriage debate on the House floor on Dec. 4.
In anticipation of the legalization of same-sex marriage in Australia, a 37-year-old lawmaker debating the issue in the House of Representatives took a moment to make it personal, turning to his partner and popping the question.
Tim Wilson, a member of the Liberal Party, was speaking Monday on a bill intended to remove a ban on same-sex marriage, a step that has gained wide support from voters throughout the country. During his speech on the House floor, Wilson said the same-sex marriage debate has been “the soundtrack” to his own relationship with his longtime partner, Ryan Bolger, a 33-year-old schoolteacher.
“We both know this issue isn’t the reason we got involved in politics; give us tax reform any day,” Wilson quipped.
“But in my first speech, I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands, and they are the answer to a question we cannot ask,” said Wilson, who started getting choked up. He was referring to a speech he gave last year to Parliament, according to the Associated Press.
“So there’s only one thing left to do,” he said, his cheeks blushing and his voice cracking.
An emotional Wilson then turned to his partner, who was smiling and sitting in the public gallery: “Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
Bolger gave his answer — “yes” — and it was met with warm laughter and loud applause.
The legislation was introduced Monday in House of Representatives and is expected to pass after breezing through the Senate last week by a vote of 43 to 12.
It’s a bill that the majority of Australians support. Nearly 80 percent of eligible voters responded to a national postal survey earlier this month, with more than 61 percent saying “yes,” the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to wed, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. About 38 percent said “no.”
“The people of Australia have spoken, and I intend to make their wish the law of the land by Christmas,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said at the time. “This is an overwhelming call for marriage equality.”
The Senate passed the measure without any of the proposed amendments that would have provided legal protections to those who oppose same-sex unions on religious grounds, the AP reported.
The amendments aimed, for example, to give civil wedding celebrants the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples, according to the news agency.