Young future Parliamentarians have overwhelmingly endorsed same-sex marriage in an emotional week of passionate debate and argument.
The NSW YMCA Youth Parliament, a youth leadership program of more than 120 young people aged between 15 and 18, met in Sydney’s Parliament House last week for a week-long simulation of state Parliament. The program aims to boost youth leadership and advocacy by educating young people about parliamentary procedure and encouraging them to debate important issues.
When the Parliament of youngsters debated a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage in NSW, the bill passed with the support of an overwhelming majority of delegates, with 72 votes to zero in the Lower House and 40 votes to four in the Upper House.
Debating the bill proved to be a highly emotional experience for many of the delegates, with several leaving the chamber in tears after a speaker, who was gay, recounted his being bashed after coming out in high school. Delegates followed the bill’s passing by singing ‘Advance Australia Fair’ and engaging in a group hug.
NSW National MP John Barilaro, who acted as Youth Parliament’s Speaker in the Lower House, said he was impressed with the quality of debate.
“I’ve never sat through a debate that was so emotional, that was so personal. That debate is genuinely what we need to get back to if we want to change policy and debate in this country,” Barilaro said.
All bills passed by Youth Parliament will be tabled in State Parliament for consideration by the government.