Australian senator Sarah Hanson-Young tears up during emotional speech for same-sex marriage


An Australian senator has broken down in tears while pleading with Parliament to finally make same-sex marriage legal.

Earlier this month Australians gave their overwhelming backing to equal marriage in a public vote, by a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%.

But because the vote was non-binding, legislation on the issue is up to Parliament.


Today, senators have been debating the Marriage Amendment Bill 2017, introduced by Dean Smith, the first openly LGBT member of Parliament from the Liberal Party.

And with the No campaign still vociferously opposed to progress, Greens party senator Sarah Hanson-Young gave an emotional speech urging Parliament to take this momentous step.

The senator, a consistent support of LGBT rights, paid tribute to the Greens’ former Parliamentary Leader Bob Brown.


She told her fellow politicians: “When Bob retired, in 2012, I said to him: ‘Bob, I’m really sorry that we weren’t able to reverse that awful law before your time was up.'”

Then, she started to cry.

“Today … Today I stand here with my Greens colleagues, finishing the job that Bob Brown started.”

Recovering her composure but still with passion in her voice, she continued: “Boy, this parliament has come such a long way.


“Twenty bills in this parliament have been introduced to reverse this awful law, seven of them – embarrassingly so – in my name.

“We now have the bill before us introduced by Senator Dean Smith, which is a fantastic demonstration of progress and how fighting for what is right will eventually win.

“Millions of Australians have fought for this reform to happen: inquiry after inquiry, protesting on the streets, meetings with members of parliament, lobbying in workplaces and voting yes.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Australian Green's Senator Sarah Hanson-Young addresses the crowd during a Free the Refugees rally on opening day of Australia's 43rd parliament at Parliament House September 28, 2010 in Canberra, Australia. The opening comes five weeks after the federal election resulted in a hung parliament and left the country waiting while Independent MPs deliberated to ultimately form a minority government.  (Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)


“It is now time for the Senate to do its job and to get this done without the muddying of the waters from those who have always been opposed to equal love.”

Hanson-Young told Parliament that “discrimination to some demeans us all,” adding that those who say marriage is just a symbol have “missed the point.

“Marriage is one of the most important symbols of our society.

Australian Greens party Sarah Hanson-Young leaves a press conference in Melbourne on July 21, 2010.  Brown said they will use their expected balance of power in the Senate from the upcoming August 21 election to demand higher taxes from the mining industry and that he planned to ignore the Federal Government's backdown on a resource super-profits tax (RSPT) and try to garner higher taxes from mining corporations which he says should be investing in skills for workers.  Voting in the first winter polls since 1987 looks set to hinge on the touchstone issues of people-smuggling, the economy and global warming, echoing the themes of the last election in 2007.  AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)


“When two people, under law, agree that they will look after each other and that they will be committed to each other and they ask their friends, their family and their nation to back them and help them in doing that, that is the strongest commitment to another person that they can make.”

Carrying on emotively, the senator said: “The resounding ‘yes’ vote across the country is a symbol to every young person in this country that, it doesn’t matter who you are, who you like, who you might have a crush on or who you fall in love with, the nation has your back; you are equal and you are loved.

“The 15th of November 2017 will go down in history as the day our nation repaired its broken heart.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31:  Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young addresses a large crowd at Taylor Square in support of marriage equality on May 31, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. They are specifically calling on the government to allow for a free vote on marriage equality.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)


She acknowledged the “handful of ultra-conservative right-wing MPs and senators who are trying to spoil the celebration and ignore the will of the people,” and burned them wonderfully.

“They are like that annoying relative whom you invited to the wedding and you wished you bloody hadn’t!

“Go away. Sit down. Let the rest of us get on with the party.”

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young speaks during an interview in Phnom Penh on November 18, 2014.  Hanson-Young accused her government of dumping the country-bound asylum-seekers in a poor country in a recent deal inked with Cambodia.    AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY        (Photo credit should read TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)


She called them “a shrinking rump” and “haters” adding that “they won’t get their way.

“The Australian people have spoken. They have voted. They demand that the parliament get this done and get it done as quickly as possible.”

Finishing her speech, the senator said that “above all else, love is love and love matters, more than anything else in the world.”

Watch Hanson-Young’s emotional speech here: