Tim Watts says he was forced to speak from the heart following last night’s (August 11) events.
Federal Labor MP Tim Watts has given a powerful speech in favour of marriage equality following the coalition’s decision to deny a conscience vote on the issue.
Watts was speaking this morning on another marriage equality bill, the one introduced by opposition leader Bill Shorten, when he addressed comments allegedly made by conservative senator Eric Abetz that gay men don’t really want to get married.
A clearly emotional Watts told the story of his uncle Derek, who was in a long term same-sex relationship when he died of AIDS when Watts was a child.
“I’m tossing the script and I’m talking about a gay man that I knew,” Watts said. “A man who I called Uncle Derek. But who my uncle Ian was never able to call his husband.”
Watts spoke of his family’s long struggles to accept Derek as gay even as the couple’s love just seemed normal to a young Watts himself.
“Other members of my family counselled him not to come out to my grandfather – remember this was the Queensland of the 1980s,” Watts said. “But he did come out, and it was not a smooth process. There was not instant acceptance.”
Watts said that eventually Derek was accepted by the family.
“He was the uncle who did the Christmas planning. The uncle who was the life of the party, who people just wanted to be around. He was particularly good with kids – he would have been a great dad – as his partner, Ian, is with my kids.”
Watts then spoke of watching his uncle die from AIDS.