Australian MP John Murphy paused during a speech in which he opposed equal marriage rights for gay couples to wish his own wife a happy anniversary on Monday.

The Labor party MP was addressing the House of Representatives on the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012, which is almost certain to fail at the Parliament on a lack of support among MPs and a whipped vote against the measure among Liberals.

Speaking at a second reading of the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2012, Mr Murphy said the term ‘marriage equality’, a “seemingly innocuous” one, had been “hijacked by those who want to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples—for the simple reason that this will maximise support. Most people support marriage and almost everyone supports equality. It sounds so reasonable.”

But, he said, it would make marriage “meaningless” if gay couples were to be included because it is a union designed for the procreation of children.

He paused during the speech to add: “Whether or not children are produced does not change this, as I can attest from my own circumstances on this very day — the 29th anniversary of my marriage to Adriana.

“Happy anniversary, honey.”

Australian video blogger Tom McLean said a lawmaker using a speech against the equal marriage bill as an opportunity to wish his wife a happy anniversary was a similar, but less serious, situation to “wishing happy birthday to your son as part of a eulogy you’re delivering for someone else’s child. That you had a hand in killing.”

On Monday, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs delivered the report of its public consultation on equal marriage, for which it received a record amount of responses — 276,437 in all — with 64 per cent in support, mirroring the support in public polls.

However, the seven-member parliamentary committee was divided, with 4-2 against equal marriage, and one abstention. The committee submitted a report with no recommendations.

Its foreword from pro-equal marriage Labor MP Graham Perrett said it was “important to remember that God did not write the Marriage Act” and that it should reflect the “values of today”.

In 2008, Mr Murphy was reprimanded by the prime minister and forced to apologise for misusing Parliament’s time after he complained in the House of Representatives about the size of a portion of beef stroganoff which had been served to the same wife in a parliamentary cafeteria.