Brisbane City Council has voted to support marriage equality.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk moved a two-part marriage equality motion on Tuesday, coinciding with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and councillors engaged in close to two hours of emotionally-charged debate in the council chamber.
The motion’s first part called for support of marriage “between any two consenting adults regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity,” and had 19 councillors in favour, five against and one abstention.
But the second part, relating to sending a letter to Canberra asking Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull to legislate for “marriage equality as soon as practicable”, was voted down with 11 councillors in favour and 14 against.
Cr Quirk acknowledged the importance of IDAHOT and said his own views on marriage equality had changed over the last “10, 20 years”.
“For me, marriage equality is about a life-long commitment,” he said.
“Marriage is drawn from love and I think everyone who does marry, marries with the intent for life.
“It doesn’t always work out that way. It’s a tough road, the game of marriage, but it is also an institution that is about absolute commitment for the long haul.
“It’s my view that every human being ought to have that opportunity.”
Opposition leader Peter Cumming also supported both parts of the motion.
“Allowing same-sex couples to be included in such a universal and important institution as marriage will provide them and their families with real social and cultural acceptance and inclusion,” he said.
Australian Marriage Equality thanked the Brisbane City Council and Cr Quirk for showing the leadership to lead and pass the motion of support.
“Brisbane has now become the first council in Queensland to pass a motion in support of marriage equality,” AME Queensland spokesman Peter Black said.
“We would like to acknowledge the positive impact this will have on LGBTI Queenslanders, their families and friends.”
A full public gallery watched the council vote and supporters gathered outside for a group photo in front of Brisbane City Hall, which was illuminated in rainbow and had a rainbow flag flying to recognise IDAHOT.
The Story Bridge, Victoria Bridge, and Treasury Casino were also lit in rainbows on Tuesday.
Brisbane LGBTIQ Action Group convener Phil Browne congratulated the Brisbane City Council for the vote and thanked all the organisations across the state who raised rainbow flags for IDAHOT.
“Council has sent a strong message of hope, respect and inclusion that all citizens are valuable and worthy of equal recognition,” he said.
“Today’s rainbow flags empower people who may be struggling with their identity, perhaps with little support from their family, workplace, school or society.”
Photos courtesy of Phil Browne, Stephen Page and Anthony Morgan