While I had always hoped to speak, and had been considering speaking all day, nerves did get the better of me up at the podium. What follows is the extended and unexpurgated version of what I said:
Comrades, you know I should support this policy - it means I don't have to get a boyfriend till 2019. (Gentlemen, you can form an orderly queue.)
But I don't, because the Labor Party is based on two concepts: solidarity and opportunity - that by working together, we create a better future. And right now it is hard to see that better future. It will happen tomorrow, we are told, but the problem with tomorrow is that tomorrow never comes.
Solidarity demands the acknowledgement of the Other as ourselves; it asks us to recognise everyone as human beings, deserving of dignity and respect. As a party which has long supported better outcomes for women, for migrants and refugees, for indigenous people, for people with disability, what are we to say? What are we to tell them? That we will treat them just as well as we treat the gays. 'You'll get what you want, but later.' What is our example?
Solidarity demands better. To use a medical metaphor, you can't be half-pregnant. You can't half-support a policy. And so if you do support marriage equality, you vote for it. You don't dither. You don't say 'Yes, but not now.' Give me justice, but not now. Give me equality, but not yet.
To paraphrase Saint Augustine - Lord, give me justice and equality, but not yet!
Or to quote him properly: "Love, and do what you will."
Where's the harm? What's the cost?
A great man in my community said that 'You gotta give them hope'. And I wonder where is the hope we give to queer Australians, young and old, gay and bisexual and trans, who wonder when that hope will come.
I am tired of waiting for a tomorrow that has not dawned.
If not now, when? If not us, who?
I commend this motion to the floor.(I was the last speaker. The motion passed.)