Politics

Watch Linda Burney Pay Tribute To Her Son In An Emotional Marriage Equality Speech

"I have never had a second thought on marriage equality. It seemed to be so obvious."

“I support marriage equality as someone who has and has had loved ones who identify as LGBTIQ+,” said Labor MP Linda Burney in an emotional speech explaining why she supports marriage equality in parliament today.

The use of the past tense — “had” — was a reference to Burney’s son, Binni, who died in October after struggling for years with health and addiction issues.

Burney is in a difficult position on marriage equality. Her Western Sydney electorate of Barton was one of only 17 to vote No in the postal survey on same-sex marriage. But speaking in Parliament today, she eloquently explained why she has no choice but to vote Yes in parliament this week.

“I have never had a second thought [on marriage equality],” she said. “It seemed to be so obvious.”

As she wiped away tears, Burney explained why marriage equality mattered to her and her family.

“To [LGBTIQ+ people], marriage equality would mean so much. I honour these people, and in particular my late son Binni,” she said.

The Labor MP also said that as an Indigenous woman who has been discriminated against all her life, and as a politician who has always fought against discrimination, she couldn’t possibly vote No on marriage equality.

“I support marriage equality as someone who is a member of a community that has experienced great discrimination and injustice, [and who] understands what it means to be rejected, and who understands what intergenerational trauma feels like, and what hurt and distress does to you,” she said.

Burney also defended the people of Barton, saying the narrative that it was mainly ethnic communities who voted No was unfair to her diverse electorate.

“I would issue great caution against this interpretation or analysis of the postal survey result. Even if all the voters from non-English speaking backgrounds in my electorate and in Australia voted No, that still wouldn’t account for the entirety of the No vote.”

“So let’s just get a little bit of perspective on those results. I am proud of my electorate. I am proud of the fact that my electorate is one of the most multi-culturally diverse in the country. And they are proud of me. This diversity did not cause the No vote,” she said.

“Voters want… conviction, they want truth. My conviction, and my life and what it stands for, is equity, and that means Yes to this proposition.

You can watch the full speech here: