Australia’s push for marriage equality is impacting many of its citizens, including those in government.
Liberal member of Parliament Tim Wilson proposed to his partner, Ryan Bolger, shortly after the country’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on Monday. Wilson gave an emotional speech on the floor, praising Bolger for his love and patience.
“You’ve had to tolerate more than most because you’ve had to put up with me,” Wilson said. “Trust me. This debate has been the soundtrack to our relationship.”
Bolger, a school teacher, has been unofficially engaged to Wilson for the past nine years, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“In my first speech I defined our bond by the ring that sits on both of our left hands,” Wilson continued. “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?”
Same-sex marriage has been the subject of national debate in Australia, but a majority of citizens have supported legalizing marriage equality.
A nationwide survey showed that 61.6 percent of Australians wanted the government to push the legislation in November. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his goal was to have a vote on the issue by Christmas.
“I am utterly unpersuaded by opposition [to marriage equality] that my marriage to Lucy or indeed any marriage is undermined by two gay men or women setting up house down the road whether it is called a marriage or not,” Turnbull said in an address to Parliament shortly after Wilson’s proposal.