Few would argue with Trevor Evans’ notion that the resounding ‘Yes’ vote for marriage equality is a “national watershed moment”.
As with the entire LGBT community, Evans (pictured), Queensland’s first openly gay Member of Parliament, wants a special Christmas present this year.
“This is national watershed moment,” he told Fairfax Media, applauding the 80 per cent turnout of Australians who voted.
“It’s a process that Australians will be able to own; to be able to say that we helped in making equality a reality.”
Mr Evans’ electorate covers much of inner-city Brisbane and recorded Queensland’s highest vote in favour of same-sex marriage, 79.5 per cent.
“Every gay Australian and every vulnerable person questioning themselves will now receive the confidence boost and the validation that they can only get from knowing the majority of Australians support them and their equal opportunity to make a loving, lifelong, legal commitment,” he said.
“As Queensland’s first openly gay MP, I’m proud to represent Brisbane, which voted 79.5 per cent in favour. The best result in the state.
“The next logical step would be to talk about legislating the result,” he said. “As for legislating a ‘Yes’ vote, I will work with my colleagues to ensure fair and balanced legislation passes through the Parliament.
“I, for one, would be willing to keep the Parliament sitting for as long as it takes to have this matter properly resolved before Christmas.”
Mr Evans has worked with LNP Senator Dean Smith and other Liberal MPs to draft a bill allowing same-sex marriage.
“It came out of a cross-party Senate committee that consulted widely to find a good balance between equality and religious freedoms. Its starting point was a government bill drafted by our Attorney-General.”
Mr Evans said he would be disappointed if there were further delays.
“There are no reasons or excuses for further delay,” he said. “On this historic occasion, we owe it to all of the Australians who have expressed their view, to resolve this issue in a businesslike fashion.
“There are so many other important challenges and opportunities in front of us to focus on.”
Both houses of federal Parliament now sit between November 27 and 30 and then again between December 4 to 7.
On his Facebook page, Mr Evans said: “We did it!
“I want to assure you I will do my part to ensure a ‘Yes’ result quickly becomes law. I believe we can have this issue resolved by Christmas.”
Let’s just hope that Santa finds the right chimney in Parliament Drive, Canberra.