Senator Louise Pratt

Australian Senator Louise Pratt has made an emotional speech arguing for the federal government to legalise same-sex marriage.

Pratt (36), who identifies as lesbian and has a transgender partner, struggled to hold back tears during Monday’s debate in the Senate on the Marriage Amendment Bill. This was her first speech in the Senate.

“I am one of those hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens who knows that the laws of our nation hold our capacity for love and for commitment to be lesser because of the gender of our partner…

“One of hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens who knows that the laws of our nation say we are less deserving of rights, respect and recognition,” Pratt told her fellow senators.

“We know that those ideas are not true and that the laws that reinforce them are not right. This debate has a personal impact for me.

“I ask senators in this chamber to remember, when they are deciding how they vote, that we exist. Our relationships exist, our children exist, our families exist, our love exists… all we ask is you stop pretending that we don’t,” she said.

Pratt is a member of the Australian Labor Party, which is opposed to the legalising of same-sex marriage. Her partner, Aram Hosie, was born female and began transitioning to male at the age of 23.

While Australia is widely seen as a gay-friendly nation, same-sex marriage was banned under federal law in 2004 when the Marriage Act was amended to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages from other countries are also not recognised.

Watch Senator Pratt’s eloquent and powerful speech below.

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