A former High Court judge in Australia, in testifying to a parliamentary inquiry into equal marriage, has said that all rights afforded to heterosexual citizens should also be afforded to LGBT citizens.

Michael Kirby, 73, and in a relationship with his partner for 43 years, said: “My brother is left-handed and I was gay [sic].” Recognise that, he added, and it follows that being gay is not “an anti-social choice” made by individuals.

“I rose to be one of the significant judicial citizens of this country,” he added, “but I was always a second-class citizen.”

“A loving relationship of tenderness, of gentleness and affection, and fidelity and support is a beautiful thing and anyone who would disrespect it is not a kind person,” he said.

Another who person who testified at the committee was the former Premier of New South Wales, Kristina Keneally, who said, despite her Catholic faith, she relied on her conscience, and found therein support for equal marriage.