Saluting Sue Boyce and Louise Pratt
Two great champions of marriage equality take their leave of politics this week.
Outgoing Queensland Senator, Sue Boyce, has been the most outspoken marriage equality advocate in the federal Coalition.
[Image] Liberal Senator Sue Boyce was the first federal Coalition member to vote for gay marriage.
She has made the case publicly for how marriage equality fits with Coalition values.
She has represented the Coalition on the cross party marriage equality group.
In 2013 she became the first federal Coalition member to vote for the recognition of same-sex marriages when she crossed the floor to support a bill that would have given same-sex marriages performed overseas legal standing in Australia.
Let’s hope Sue’s departure will prompt other supporters of marriage equality in the Coalition to step up and take over where she left off.
The other great champion is outgoing WA Labor Senator, Louise Pratt.
[Image] Senator Louise Pratt has championed for marriage equality within the Labor ranks.
Louise has pressed her party reasonably but insistently on marriage equality for many years and is as responsible as anyone for moving it forward.
She has been a conduit between the LGBTI community and ALP decision-makers.
She was also a member of the cross-party group.
There are other members of the ALP who are strong advocates for marriage equality, but it will take a very special person to match Louise when it comes to listening to community voices and building coalitions for change.
Sue and Louise never lost thier ability to empathise with the needs and aspirations of other people, despite the strident opposition they sometimes faced.
As someone who tires of the unnecessary harshness of politics, I personally found this very inspiring.
Both Sue and Louise have said they will regret not being in parliament when marriage equality passes.
But, in fact they will be.
When Labor and Coalition members speak in favour of marriage equality during the final debate on this longed-for reform, they will echo the words and ideas Sue and Louise first lodged in the language of parliament.
When they say “aye” on the final vote they will be showing the courage Sue and Louise first modelled.
Few people will have a more profound presence on the day marriage equality passes than Sue Boyce and Louise Pratt.
Along with other marriage equality supporters, I salute them.