I appreciate that the issue of same-sex marriage is a sensitive and complex issue that arouses strong emotions among those both on all sides of the debate.
While I respect the opinions of those who think otherwise, I personally believe that all people should enjoy the right to marry, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Matrimony allows one person to publicly profess their love for and commitment to another and the institution of marriage will be strengthened by being made more inclusive and representative of all people in our community.
There are now many children growing up in families with same-sex parents and it is time society validated that family model by extending to same-sex parents and partners the same rights available to heterosexual couples.
I do not agree with assertions that family life will be undermined by the recognition of same-sex marriage. Sadly, I have seen many examples of poor parenting from people in heterosexual relationships and believe it is neglect and abuse that pose the most significant threats to family values today.
It is my view that children benefit most from being raised in a loving and supportive environment, regardless of the gender of their parents.
US President Barack Obama spoke several years ago of going through a “personal evolution” on the issue of marriage equality. Many people in our society have experienced a similar process of re-evaluation as same-sex relationships have become more commonplace and homosexuality thankfully less stigmatised.
I, too, have undergone a significant change in my thinking on the subject, having some years ago held a much more conservative view. In basic terms, I no longer accept the premise that same-sex marriage somehow diminishes the institution of marriage.
I believe the recognition of same-sex marriage is a reasonable, progressive step that reflects the expectations and attitudes of many in our community and I will support any legislation that supports marriage equality.