A teenage marriage equality activist gave an impassioned speech at a rally at the University of Wollongong on Wednesday.

Jamil, 16, spoke in honour of his honorary grandfather, the late Peter Bonsall-Boone.

“Bon was an exceptional man who did many exceptional things while making some exceptional sacrifices,” said Jamil.

“Bon and his partner Peter started their relationship in 1966. They shared the first same-sex couple kiss on Australian television in 1972, and Bon lost his job because of it.”

Jamil lamented that when Bon passed away earlier this year he had been unable to marry the man he had loved for over 50 years.

“Bon has been an inspiration to individuals within the LGBTI community, and to those beyond the community, yet Bon will always be more than an inspiration to me,” he said.

“He was my grandfather. His being gay didn’t change the fact that he was a grandfather to me.”

Jamil reflected that at 16, “a boy”, he could marry under the current Marriage Act.

“Yet my grandparents, who have been in an objectively beautiful and loving relationship for 50 years, could not,” he said.

“Our current government would rather let a minor marry than allow a same-sex marriage to take place. Our current government would let me marry before they would let me vote or even participate in this marriage survey.

“But if my partner were to be another man, they would relegate me to a second-class citizen status and deny me the possibility.”

Jamil accused the government of ignoring equality in favour of its own “preferences and agenda”.

“This cannot remain the way this country functions,” he said.

“I do not want my country to be one that considers my grandfathers lesser than myself.

“I do not want my country to be one that will marginalise entire communities in the name of tradition or religion.”

Jamil said he believes everyone wants to be a good person, and shared his vision for good Australians doing the right thing for equality.

“A good person would believe in equality for all, and would actively attempt to ensure that all are met with equality,” he said, to applause.

“All those who believe they are good people would stop at nothing to ensure that the LGBTI community would receive the same human rights as everyone else.

“And with so many good people in Australia, the LGBTI community should have been given the right to marry a long time ago.”

Jamil issued a call to action to the crowd.

“To those who consider themselves good people, ask yourselves this,” he said.

“What are you doing for others?

“To those who say they are good people yet stand idly by as an entire community of people is denied a human right, I say this to you. Stop lying to yourselves. Stop lying to the rest of us.

“Stop lying to the good people of Australia, like my grandfathers who would go out of their way to fight for equality.”

Jamil implored the crowd to vote yes for marriage equality.

“Until people take this opportunity to say yes to an equal society, we are trapped in place,” he said.

“How many more couples like my grandfathers must wait half a century unable to marry? How many more people must die as second-class citizens before we change our ways?

“If you truly believe you are a good person, you’ll know what to do. Vote yes for marriage equality.”

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