WATCH: Gay Audience Member Takes Down MP’s ‘No’ Argument On Q&A


A gay Q&A audience member speaking about marriage equality has challenged a government MP’s view that a “no” vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey doesn’t equate to discrimination.

Australian-born Chinese man Alexander Lau appeared on the ABC program on Monday night and told the panel: “I’m a gay Australian-born Chinese man. My mother holds traditional views and last night told me that she voted ‘Yes’ for marriage equality only because I’m gay.

“While I appreciate her love for me outranks everything else, it was a painful reminder that many in my extended family don’t hold particularly favourable views of the LGBTI community and that my relationships are somehow worth less.”

Mr Lau said this was common in the Chinese community and various other ethnic groups, and asked the panel what can be done to “ensure that the discussion surrounding marriage equality is focused on the subject of marriage and not conflated with other unrelated topics.”

Labor Senator Penny Wong said Australian minority groups had long spoken out against discrimination on the basis of race, and equality was not something people could “pick and choose”.

“If you believe in the principle on the basis of race or gender, I don’t see why it’s a principle that’s somehow diminished or abrogated because of someone’s sexual orientation,” she said.

Liberal MP Michael Sukkar said he was “a prominent supporter of traditional marriage” and told Lau he was going to vote “no” in the survey.

“What I’d say as far as ethnic communities go, I think it’s potentially as diverse in its range of thinking as the rest of Australia,” he said.

“Don’t believe that somebody like me, who does support traditional marriage, in any way is looking down on you or doesn’t think that you have a legitimate relationship.

“My view is, those of us who believe very strongly in traditional marriage shouldn’t be lumped into the basket that we are somehow hateful, or somehow don’t view, Alexander, your relationship as being legitimate.”

But Lau responded: “When I go to family functions, my relatives don’t ask about my relationships because they’re uncomfortable about the idea of it.

“However, my sister or my cousins, if they’re seeing someone new, they’ll have conversations with my aunts, uncles, cousins about their relationships.

“In that sense, you voting no is really a reflection of my relationship because what you’re saying is that I’m not allowed to have a marriage or I’m not allowed to have a relationship that is worthy of marriage, because that is something that only you can have as a person in a relationship [with the] opposite sex.

“So when you go to cast your ballot of no, you are saying that your relationship is worthy of marriage and mine is not.”

Watch Q&A’s discussion of marriage equality below: