Labor MP Linda Burney has paid tribute to her late son Binni during a powerful speech on same-sex marriage.
Burney, Australia’s first female indigenous MP, explained her longstanding support for marriage equality to colleagues in the parliament on Tuesday.
“I have never had a second thought. It seemed so obvious to me,” she said.
Her 33-year-old son Binni Kirkbright-Burney, who was gay, was found dead in the family home six weeks ago after struggling with mental health and addiction.
“I support marriage equality as someone who has, and has had, loved ones who identify as LGBTIQ,” Ms Burney said during her first speech since her son’s death.
“To them, marriage equality would mean so much. I honour these people and, in particular, my late son Binni.”
Burney said she had seen firsthand “the confusion, anxiety and pain” many young people experienced about their sexuality.
She said she also supported marriage equality “as someone who is a member of a community that has experienced great discrimination and injustice” and she knew “what it means to be rejected, understands what intergenerational trauma feels like, and what hurt and distress does to you.”
“[Marriage equality] would say to a community that has experienced enormous hurt and enormous discrimination, including legal discrimination, that finally, ‘We love you, we embrace you and you are as equal as anyone in Australia,’” she said.
She criticised the “hurtful and unethical” marriage law postal survey, which put basic civil and human rights to a popular vote, as if it was some kind of reality TV show.”
“[The survey] forced LGBTIQ loved ones to beg for their own civil rights, a truly humiliating and shameful exercise,” she said.