During the start of the debate to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, liberal and openly gay MP Tim Wilson floored his fellow members with a heartfelt proposal to his long-time partner, Ryan Bolger.
“This debate has been the soundtrack to our relationship,” Wilson began as he stood in the House of Representatives and Bolger sat in the gallery.
The minister said that although LGBT rights weren’t what first drew the couple to politics, it became an important theme throughout their almost decade-long relationship.
“In our first speech, I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands, that they are the answer to the question we cannot ask. So there’s only one thing left to do,” he said as Bolger sat in the audience. “Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The beaming Bolger responded with a strong “yes” to the sound of applause from the chamber.
Wilson described to the house the first reactions he received after coming out about his relationship with and engagement to the school teacher.
"Always with an eye to the future, the Member for Kooyong [Josh Frydenberg] and his wife Amy sent flowers, but when we told others, many simply didn't know how to react," he said, adding that although Bolger wanted an engagement party, he held back, most likely due to the negative reaction he received from many friends and relatives.
The emotional minister thanked Australia for voting to legalize same-sex marriage. In a non-binding survey finalized in November, about 80 percent of voters showed their support, bringing Australia one step closer to being the 26th nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s administration and the main opposition Labor Party believe the law should be passed by Thursday, though proposed amendments may cause some delay.