AUSTRALIA: Labor MP Tim Watts Delivers Passionate Speech About His Uncles Who Couldn’t Marry [VIDEO]

Labor MP Tim Watts has made waves in Australia with a passionate marriage equality speech about his uncles who could never marry. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

A Labor MP has attacked the Coalition government’s Senate leader Eric Abetz as an “anachronistic joke” in an impassioned speech recounting the story of a gay uncle who died of AIDS without the right to marry his long-term partner. Senator Abetz reportedly told the Coalition party room on Tuesday that not all gay men want to get married, pointing to the example of billionaire Italian fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana, who never wed. The Coalition party room voted by around 60 votes to 30 on Tuesday not to allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage, killing off the prospect of the change being legalised before the next election. Victorian Labor MP Tim Watts, who is regarded as one of the party’s rising stars, said he abandoned plans to give a more routine, impersonal speech in support of same-sex marriage after reading Senator Abetz’s comments. “Reading Senator Abetz’s comments made me wonder whether he had ever met a gay man before,” he said in a speech to Parliament on Wednesday. “So I am tossing the script and talking about a gay man that I knew: a man that I called my Uncle Derek but who my Uncle Ian was never able to call his husband.” Mr Watts said some members of his family, who were conservative and religious, struggled to accept his uncle when he came out as gay in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era. “It’s a horrific thing to watch someone die from AIDS,” he said. “It was particularly horrific in the Queensland of the 1980s and ’90s – to have to do so not only with the horrors of the illness but the indignities and horrors of a lack of recognition from the society around you. To have to deal with being beaten by hateful thugs on the street while your body was destroying itself from the inside.”

  • JT
    • KQCA

      That is a superb choice of quote.

  • gaymex

    I’ve grown tough hearing the horrible things people say about us and then someone like Tim Watts comes along and I’m reduced to tears. What a great guy–a future Prime Minister for sure.

  • KQCA

    “LGBTI”… what does the “I” refer to?

    ..and, as a sidebar… the chamber is nearly empty AND, as this man spoke of his uncle’s death, a woman walks passed him and leaves?

    • Wesinoregon
    • DaddyRay

      intersex I believe

      • KQCA

        I’m sorry to trouble, and I don’t trust Google searches on this sort of thing (I tried, and found disrespectful terms like “abnormal” in the definitions), but “intersex” means…transexual?

        I only trust “family” here with info like this.

    • Jeffg166

      Senators, congressmen and women in this country make statements to empty chambers to go on record as to their position on a topic. Tim Watts read his position into the record. YouTube shares it with the world.

      • Steve Teeter

        Members of the US Congress do the same thing all the time, for the same reason. And CNN never shows the empty room they’re talking to.

      • KQCA

        Excellent, thank you.

    • Steve Teeter

      Maybe “inquiring.”

    • Intersex. What used to be known as hermaphrodite.

      • KQCA

        Ok, thanks for that. 😉

  • SockMikey
  • Oh, since two self-loathing Italian faggots don’t want to get married, committed Australian couples should not be allowed that right? Did D&G renounce their Italian citizenship in favor of their Australian citizenship and overlook sending out a press release?

    • bambinoitaliano

      The good thing is the Douchebag & Garbage brand will forever tarnished.

    • canoebum

      The guy (Sen. Abetz) is a blithering idiot. Lots of straight couples don’t want to get married either. So what’s his point, except to put his bigotry on display?

    • Mark

      I kind of like that he put them in the light of ‘exceptions’. And I’ll bet D&G thought it was a compliment.

      For Sale: Knockoff douchebags.

    • Prixator

      D&G cannot get married in Italy, either. Of course, they could marry in another country – but many people don’t have that choice.

  • Mark

    First thing I noticed – he is young. Abbot is at least a ‘boomer’ – and with much less time to force feed his ideals and his prejudices and his hate on the Australian populace. I know that means I will probably be dead before equality sees every continent – but at least I will die knowing it WILL happen. We WILL WIN.

    • People4Humanity

      Love WINS! Love always wins.

  • Big thanks to Tin Watts, Australia needs more MP’s like him and I hope the roadblocks that the current government is putting up against same sex marriage become a big issue in the next election.

    • David Walker

      The US needs lots more congresspeople like him.

    • Nexus1

      It will be for younger people, but the economy and Abbott’s attempted austerity cuts will be what gets his ass kicked out. He tried to cut healthcare and other services a couple of years ago, but thankfully it didn’t go as far as he wanted because of national outrage. The voters haven’t forgotten though and the falling economy that is now even more linked/dependent on China will drive many more people to vote Labour in the next election. I expect to see Labour hit real hard about the economy next year to shore up as many seats as possible. Gillard was going to lose two years ago because of taxes and Abbott will lose because of the economy. Their stances on SSM were/are disgraceful, but they will both be kicked out for other more ‘traditional’ reasons. lol

  • This kind of story is exactly what the other side hates. They don’t want to talk about personal stories or personal experiences, rather they want to talk about some hypothetical idea of “what is marriage” the other side knows that talking about real stories and real experiences shows how harmful these bans on same sex marriage truly is and so they want to avoid them and pretend that the bans have no negative effect on anyone.

    • David Walker

      Invariably the person who asks me how long Jack and I have been together registers shock and then admiration when I tell him/her “36 years.” (We get to say “37 years” next month.) They don’t understand that any gay person in PA could be fired, evicted, and refused public accommodation simply because we’re gay…they thought that had been taken care of long ago. When they ask why we aren’t married now, I tell them that now that Social Security views all couples the same, our joint income would decrease, which we cannot afford. So even “the young” need some education.

      • I know quite a few couples here in Oz who haven’t Registered their Partnerships for the same reason.

  • Gigi

    His speech both warmed and broke my heart.
    What a lovely and thoughful man. The younger ones get it. They see us for who we are, not who we have sex with.

  • Ninja0980

    What a moving speech.
    Here’s hoping the voters take it to heart and help kick Tony’s bigoted ass out.

    • Nexus1

      Abbott is toast, he will be out of power next year both as the PM and as the leader of the LNP, but it will be because of the economy and his being an overall national embarrassment, not necessarily because of Same Sex Marriage. The Australian economy being in decline is much more of a slam dunk for his ouster than any other issue could be. Once he’s out Marriage Equality will pass because he is right now the biggest obstacle to it. It’s really disgraceful that the last two PM’s (I’m not really counting Kevin Rudds couple of months in 2013) have impeded Marriage so stubbornly.

      • Ninja0980

        Indeed, especially since it didn’t help Gillard’s party one bit.

      • In fairness to Mr Rudd, he always supported Civil Unions and one of his first acts as PM was to enable them under the name Registered Partnerships, which involved the big task of passing amendments some 90 pieces of Commonwealth legislation which had hitherto discriminated against same-sex couples. It’s a pity he didn’t set up a national registry, leaving the States to handle that; but the bureaucracy is well on-side and I’ve not heard of any clerk refusing to do his/her job on religious grounds. Sure, separate is not equal; but it was a major first step. We can only speculate whether Miss Gillard would have taken it had she been PM at the time, but I don’t think she would have. Too preoccupied with trying to get herself into the Lodge by the back door.

        • Nexus1

          I only referenced Kevin Rudd to clarify that I wasn’t talking about his time as PM, I was only referring to Gillard and Abbott. During Rudd’s second go around as PM for 3 months in 2013 he definitely didn’t do anything to impede SSM or to hurt LGBT’s. The situation in 2013 for Labor was so dire that no one could have kept them from losing power in the next election. Abbott is so hated now, but Labour was disfavored even more at the time. I remember at the time hoping that Labour would have a good shakeup and get some new MP’s and some new leadership because they needed to get as far away from the Gillard era as possible. I commend her for stepping away from politics in general after her ouster and allowing the party to move on from her. I think that there are enough new and different people in the party that a return to a Labour government won’t be seen as a return to the way things were 2 to 3 years ago. I just hope that the Aussie dollar and the overall economy don’t get much worse before the election next year for the sake of the average Australian.

          Thankfully Australia isn’t full of dominionist religious fundamentalist the way the U.S is. Even hardline conservative Catholics over there don’t see it as their mission to protest by not doing their job and forcing the government to pay them for being bigots. That seems to be a uniquely American hubris. Gillard was always going to be stubborn about Marriage, she was not about to change course after suffering all of the political damage from her stance.

  • MDB

    “A journey from ignorance and hate, to understanding and love”….why is this journey so hard for so many when it actually is so very easy ?? What a beautiful tribute to his beloved uncles.

    • David Walker

      Maybe it’s an inadvertent insight re: how happily married Abetz and others are.

  • goofy_joe

    I don’t get that argument, just because some gay couples don’t want to get married, doesn’t mean we all shouldn’t. Some straight couples don’t want to get married either…should we negate all straight couples too?

    • Andrea_Rae

      I was thinking the same thing. . . .

    • David Walker

      It’s because we see it from our perspective, which from Abetz’s perspective doesn’t count for shit. He needs to hear that he’s “an anachronistic joke” with frequency. He’ll never admit it, but he’ll know not everyone agrees with him.

    • Nexus1

      Plus Abetz talked about gay men as if all gay people are men. It just recrystallizes the point that the bigots main concern is about gay male sex and sexuality, lesbians could go climb a tree for all they care. Any argument that references the exemption to try and make the rule is flawed. There are people who don’t like pizza that doesn’t mean that we ban it or close all the pizza shops, his ‘logic’ is just that foolish.

  • Hue-Man

    Lots of lesbians and gays don’t want to get married…. until they want to!

    BTW, what dim lightbulb picks people from a country WITHOUT marriage equality to justify not allowing lesbians and gays to marry in Australia?

  • Nax

    Am I misforgetting something, but wasn’t the Labor party, when last in power, the party that was adamantly blocking marriage equality in Australia?

    • Nexus1

      Their leader was, yes. Both the party and it’s leadership have changed in the last 2 years. There are more Labour MP’s in favor of SSM now then 2 years ago and even more Liberal MP’s in favor of it than 2 years ago. A free vote from both sides would bring about Marriage Equality in Australia, it wouldn’t be by a huge margin, but it would win. That’s why Abbot threatening his MP’s if they vote for it is such a reprehensible move. He knows that the votes are there if he allowed a conscience vote and he’s doing everything he can to block it.

  • Fyva Prold

    Lots of straight people don’t want to get married, either.

    • Like a certain Oz PM of recent memory.

      • Nexus1

        Why she didn’t want to marry her fabulous hairdresser boyfriend still astounds me. lol

        All kidding aside, she just like Abbott was projecting her hangups and beliefs on the entire nation.

        • Given her way, she would abolish marriage altogether and strike a blow against “patriarchy”.

          O/T, I suppose, but she really shouldn’t wear dresses like that. Quite apart from feminist objections to presenting herself as a sex object, she doesn’t have the figure for them.

          • Nexus1

            Sorry for the late response, my internet was out for 2 days. I was under the impression that the whole ‘patriarchy’ argument was only in the last stages of her leadership and after she was ousted. She definitely doesn’t have the figure. My partner showed me this funny picture of her and her cankles a couple of years ago.