22 Mar 2017
DCA supports marriage equality because we believe it will truly cement workplace fairness and inclusion for the LGBTIQ+ community.
- Marriage equality is an important outstanding issue for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people.
- 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 wider community is already supporting marriage equality. Around 70% of Australians support marriage equality according to polls.
Marriage equality should be achieved via a free vote in Parliament.
- A plebiscite or postal vote would be damaging, costly and unnecessary.
- A campaign against marriage equality will inevitably be damaging to LGBTIQ+ people who already experience unacceptable levels of discrimination and prejudice.
- The current estimate is that a plebiscite will cost in excess of $160 million. PwC estimates that the real cost to the Australian economy could be as high as $525 million.
- Politicians already have the power to enact the necessary legislation to achieve marriage equality.
Many of our members are already supporters of marriage equality and we are calling on other employers to do the same.
- 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.
- Employers who want to get on board to support marriage equality can sign up as a corporate supporter via Australian Marriage Equality’s website at www.australianmarriageequality.org
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?
- Use inclusive language to make your LGBTIQ+ staff feel safe and included at work. Check out DCA’s #WordsAtWork guide for tips.
- Learn more about how inclusive leaders can make everyone feel valued. Check out DCA’s Building Inclusion: An evidence Based Model of Inclusive Leadership.
- Sign up to the campaign to support Marriage Equality. You can join hundreds of other employers on this register of support.
- Start a pride group at your work. Pride in Diversity has a useful guide to establishing and maintaining an LGBTIQ+ network.