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Tim Wilson proposes to his partner after bill introduced to House of Reps

Monday - 04/12/2017 09:05
Liberal MP Tim Wilson has proposed to his long-term partner Ryan Bolger in the House of Representatives, shortly after the same-sex marriage bill was introduced to the Lower House

The proposal is believed to be the first of its kind in the Lower House of Parliament, and was greeted with applause from all sides of politics and the public gallery.

Mr Wilson has been engaged to the school teacher for nine years and reaffirmed his proposal during a speech on the issue.

Mr Bolger was present in the chamber for the proposal and responded with a clear "yes".

"In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands," Mr Wilson said.

"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?"

Key points:

  • Ryan Bolger was present in the chamber for the proposal and said "yes"
  • Tim Wilson became emotional when paying tribute to Mr Bolger
  • Deputy speaker Rob Mitchell congratulated the couple amid applause

Mr Wilson became emotional when paying tribute to Mr Bolger, thanking him for his trust and for standing beside him during his political career.

"This debate has been the soundtrack to our relationship," Mr Wilson said.

"We both know this issue isn't the reason we got involved in politics — give us tax reform any day!"

Mr Wilson spoke about the varying reactions he had from friends when he first announced his relationship with Mr Bolger years ago.

"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.

Ryan Bolger, partner of Tim Wilson, sits in the House of Representatives.
PHOTO: Ryan Bolger said
yes when Mr Wilson proposed. (ABC News)

He said some people did not reply to his text messages while some tried to change the conversation; another person asked him "why bother?".

"For a while, Ryan kept pushing for an engagement party but the truth was I kept delaying it, perhaps wrongly, because the strong message I took from so many people's silence was no-one would come," he said.

Deputy speaker Rob Mitchell congratulated the couple amid applause and made sure there was no doubt about Mr Bolger's reply.

"We should let Hansard note to record that was a 'yes', a resounding 'yes'," he said.

Entsch introduces legislation to Lower House

Same-sex marriage legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives this morning and is expected to pass easily after debate on proposed religious protection amendments.

The private member's bill passed the Senate comfortably last week with all amendments rejected by the Opposition and some Liberal senators.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the high postal survey turnout provided "the ultimate democratic seal to this historic change".

"This is a day to be especially proud that all of our friends, colleagues, neighbours, brothers and sisters can marry the people they love," Mr Turnbull said.

"Most of all, to same-sex couples in Australia, you are equal, you are respected, you are loved."

The bill was introduced by Liberal MP Warren Entsch, a long-time advocate for same-sex marriage in the Coalition pushed for a free vote on the issue in August.

Mr Entsch noted he was often described as a "fiercely heterosexual" Queenslander who has been working to remove "legal and financial discrimination within the gay and transgender community".

"Who is it to say that another person should be denied equal rights or that their love is in some way less because of who they love?" he said.

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