As public proposals go, they don’t get much more meaningful than this.
Liberal MP Tim Wilson popped the question to his boyfriend Ryan Bolger during a debate on marriage equality, with a new law allowing same-sex marriage expected to be passed soon.
Bolger, sat in the public gallery of the parliament’s lower house, said yes.
The proposal came after Wilson recounted having given his partner a ring to symbolise his commitment to formalising their relationship, with gay marriage not yet legal.
“When we told others many simply didn’t know how to react,” he said.
“Many SMSs were not responded to. In conversation some people politely changed the topic or fell silent entirely.
“For a while Ryan kept pushing for an engagement party. The truth was I kept delaying it, perhaps wrongly, because the strong message I took from so many people’s silence was that no-one would come.
“On informing one person of our news, they responded ‘why bother?’
“At the time I fell silent, and I’ve never had an answer to that question, but the Australian people have now answered it for me.”
The Australian parliament is debating marriage equality after the public voted overwhelmingly in favour in a non-binding postal vote in September.
Wilson concluded by saying: “In my first speech I defined our bond by the rings that sit on both of our left hands, and that they are the answer to the question we cannot ask. So there’s only one thing left to do: Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”
The bill has already passed through the senate and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he hopes to pass a new law by the end of the week.
He said in Monday’s debate: “The message today, to every gay person in this nation, is clear: we love you, we respect you, your relationship is recognised by the Commonwealth as legitimate and honourable as anybody else’s.”