Marriage equality

Position statements
Topics LGBTIQ+

DCA welcomes the strong ‘Yes’ vote in support of marriage equality 

  • DCA is thrilled that Australians returned a strong ‘Yes’ vote in the postal survey, with 61.6% in support of marriage equality (versus 38.4% who voted ‘No’).  
  • DCA has campaigned for marriage equality for a number of years. We are delighted that the majority of Australians in every state and territory agree.

We did not support any exemptions to the proposed legislation

  • DCA did not support any amendments to the consensus cross-party same-sex marriage bill, and were very pleased that the bill passed the Australian Parliament without amendment.
  • Earlier this year, DCA surveyed its membership about the proposed legislation, and proposed exemptions, and it was the strong view of our respondents that legislation that created new exemptions to allow refusal of services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people would be retrograde step away from efforts to remove all forms of discrimination. 

DCA supports marriage equality because we believe it will truly cement workplace fairness and inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community.

  • Marriage equality is an issue of fairness and equality for LGBTIQ+ people and something that will truly cement inclusion for our LGBTIQ+ colleagues, family and friends.
  • Organisations that publicly support marriage equality send an important message to their staff and the wider community about the need to create a society that is truly diverse and inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people.
  • The postal survey found a clear majority of the community supports marriage equality.

Many of our members are already supporters of marriage equality. 

  • Telstra, ANZ, IBM, CBA, Optus, ING, PwC, SBS, Westpac are just some of the DCA members that have already come on board to support marriage equality.
  • There is much to be gained in reputation, recruitment, retention, productivity and market share from ensuring workplaces are welcoming and inclusive of all employees and customers, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. Supporting marriage equality is another step in LGBTIQ+ inclusion.
  • With an increasing number of nations (and individual states including in the US and Mexico) providing for same sex marriage, the non-recognition of same sex marriages in Australia creates practical difficulties for Australian business, both administratively and in relation to their efforts to attract international talent.
  • Leading employers, including many DCA members, are already doing a lot to support their LGBTIQ+ employees.

Marriage equality has business and economic benefits.

  • Workplace productivity:
    • LGBTIQ+ people often feel the need to hide who they are at work and this involves a lot of energy and stress and affects productivity. Not being allowed to marry further stigmatises same-sex relationships as second-rate and legitimises prejudice. Creating LGBTQ+ inclusive workplaces and broader society will improve performance and productivity.
  • Recruitment and reputation:
    • With more countries achieving marriage equality, Australia is becoming an ever less attractive place for skilled workers to migrate to. Obviously, if you have decided to marry and make vows of lifelong commitment you will favour those countries that respect your decision and honour your vows.
    • For members of the “creative class”, marriage equality has come to be seen as a sign of a progressive and creative society. Even potential investors, when faced with two countries with similar economic fundamentals, will look to issues like marriage equality to distinguish which country embraces change, looks outward and values personal freedom. As more western countries achieve marriage equality and Australia becomes increasingly isolated, our international reputation will suffer. Inevitably this will have an adverse impact on our economy.
  • Direct revenue:
    • The most conservative estimate puts the potential wedding of Australian same-sex couples at $161 million. Also, a portion of the wedding spend that should be going into the Australian economy is being spent in other countries by Australian couples forced to go overseas to wed.

LGBTIQ+ people still face discrimination at work and this must be addressed.

  • Research tells us that close to one in two LGBTIQ+ Australians hide their sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status in the workplace for fear being “out” could damage their careers. And despite Australia having some of the most inclusive anti-discrimination protections in the world for LGBTIQ+ people, most LGBTIQ+ employees in Australia have witnessed or heard of homophobic incidents at work.
  • Those experiencing homophobia and transphobia are likely to have decreased well-being and negative work attitudes, suggesting that homophobia and transphobia (including not recognising LGBTIQ+ relationships) can hurt the quality of work life and the general well-being of LGBTIQ+ individuals.
  • Homophobia and transphobia can also have a detrimental impact on productivity and profitability. In Australia, lesbian and gay marketing specialist firm Out Now estimates the financial benefits associated with encouraging closeted workers to come out could be as much as A$285 million per year. This includes an 11% increase in staff retention and 30% improvement in the productivity of closeted workers.

What can employers do?