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Australian MP Tim Wilson Proposes To Ryan Bolger In Parliament Amid Same-Sex Marriage Debate

'There’s only one thing left to do.'

04/12/2017 09:06 GMT | Updated 04/12/2017 09:08 GMT

An Australian MP has proposed to his partner in parliament amid a debate on marriage equality.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson became emotional as he addressed parliament on the same-sex marriage bill, saying the debate “has been the soundtrack to our relationship”.

He then addressed his partner, Ryan Bolger, who was sitting in the public gallery.

 “In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands and they are the answered questions we cannot ask.

“So there’s only one thing left to do. Ryan Patrick Bolger, will you marry me?”

Bolger gave a clear “yes” from his seat in the public gallery to a round of applause.

Wilson and Bolger had already exchanged rings but had pledged to wait for the country to pass the legislation before they wed.

Acting speaker Rob Mitchell asking for the answer, “a resounding yes” to be recorded in Hansard.

“Congratulations. Well done, mate,” he said. 

The moment was widely celebrated on social media, even by those who did not agree with Wilson’s politics. 

In September, Australians overwhelmingly voted for same-sex marriage in a postal vote.

A marriage equality bill that passed the senate last week is being debated in the lower house, where it is expected to pass this week.

Both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal-National coalition government and the main opposition Labor Party have said they aim to pass the law by December 7, but any proposed amendments could stretch out that timeline.

Passage of the bill will make Australia the 26th nation to legalize same-sex marriage, a watershed for a country in which some states considered homosexual activity illegal until 1997.

Earlier this year, about 80% of eligible voters participated in the voluntary survey - a turnout larger than for the Brexit vote and Ireland’s same-sex marriage referendum.

“The message today, to every gay person in this nation, is clear,” Turnbull added. “We love you, we respect you, your relationship is recognized by the Commonwealth as legitimate and honorable as anybody else’s.”