Why Australia needs marriage equality
Diversity Council Australia is thrilled that Australians returned a strong ‘Yes’ vote, with 61.6% in support of marriage equality (versus 38.4% who voted ‘No’) in the recent Australian marriage law postal survey.
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.
How to be a strong ally
Workplaces must continue to work to create inclusive, safe environments, particularly as more members of the LGBTIQ+ community are empowered to come-out by the positive response to the postal survey.
Download DCA’s WordsAtWork: Building LGBTIQ+ Inclusion through the Power of Language
(member’s only content - please ensure you are logged into this site before clicking the link) and follow these steps to make your workplace more inclusive for everyone.
1. Be inclusive: Language is a powerful tool for building inclusion (or exclusion) at work. The way we speak to each other creates a culture in which everyone – including people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and people who aren’t – can feel valued, respected and one of the team (included), rather than under-valued, disrespected, and out of place (excluded).
2. Make people visible: Respectfully talking about people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer, or who identify with other sexual orientations or gender identities, can go a long way to making everyone feel part of the team.
3. But not too visible: As a general rule, if someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation is not relevant – and it is unlikely to be relevant in most work situations – then don’t mention it.
4. Have the courage to call it: If you hear people making offensive or disparaging comments about LGBTIQ+ people, or their kids, call it out. It can be difficult to call people out, but research tells us that when comments are challenged it helps not just the person who was the target, but the people around them.
Read more on the importance of creating inclusive workplaces once marriage equality legislation is passed.
Resources for the LGBTIQ+ community
In light of all the emotional distress being caused by the protracted and harmful debate surrounding marriage equality, ACON has put together these resources that we hope will help everyone within our communities, particularly younger members who often find themselves most vulnerable to hate speech. Download this resource.
Staying healthy in the fight for equality is the message in the Rainbow Families Plebiscite Guide. It provides advice on taking care of yourselves and the people around you as well as "Ten things to remember during the plebiscite".
Guide for Educators
Rainbow Families NSW has also released a guide to help educators and early learning staff support LGBTQI- parented children who are part of their schools and communities. Download your copy of the guide here
Talking to children about marriage equality
The Australian Psychological Society has recently released a guide on Talking to children and young people about marriage equality and related issues. The four-page resource provides some helpful tips for parents, caregivers and teachers for talking with children about marriage equality.
If this topic raises issues for you or someone close to you help is available. Call Life Line on 13 11 44 (24 hours) or Q Life on 1800 184 527 (3pm – midnight).
Additional links and resources
DCA is delighted that so many of its members are amongst the many organisations that have already registered their support for marriage equality.
A Senate Inquiry has also been announced to look at the issues raised by the postal plebiscite, including, in particular protections against offensive, misleading or intimidating material or behaviour, especially towards affected communities.
Pride in Diversity has produced a useful guide on supporting employees affected by the debate on marriage equality.
Translating and Interpreting Services are available to assist people complete the survey. On the reverse of the letter sent with the postal survey material, there will be instructions in 15 languages on how to contact the Translating and Interpreting Services (TIS National) on phone:131 450.
Postal vote vs plebiscite - RMIT ABC Fact Check looks at how the plebiscite became a postal vote and why the Marriage Law Postal Survey is unusual.
Australian Human Right Commissioner Edward Santow said “All people have the right to equal treatment before the law. Australia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) citizens should be able to marry the person they love.” The Commission's 2012 position paper on marriage equality outlines that civil marriage should be available to all couples, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has a new tip sheet Talking with children and young people about marriage equality and related issues, for parents, caregivers and teachers who want to have conversations about marriage equality. It also provides guidance on how to help children cope with homophobic or hateful views.
Marriage Equality Campaign
Australian Marriage Equality has a poster series available for download outlining key reasons for marriage equality.
This Fairfax Media video explains what would change for same-sex couples if they could marry.
Denial of the marriage equality and harmful opposition campaigning impact the lives of families as DCA's Policy and Research Manager Cathy Brown explains in this blog which first appeared on ABC News website.
DCA CEO Lisa Annese outlines the eight reasons that as a citizen, a parent, an ally, and someone who leads an organisation committed to inclusion, she is voting YES in an opinion piece that first appeared in The Huffington Post.
For those who concerned about same-sex couples as parents, we recommend listening to the happy, healthy, much-loved children in this video from Gayby Baby and The Guardian.
Facts and Frequently Asked Questions
A number of media outlets have provided explanations of the marriage equality vote including:
Australian Marriage Equality Campaign events around Australia
Melbourne's Result Street Party!
Victorian, Trades Hall Building
Melbourne Post Poll Result Picnic
Sydney Results Announcement Picnic
Prince Alfred Park
Sydney Results Night Street Festival
Ways to help secure a YES Victory
- Join or host a marriage equality calling party
- Add your logo to the rapidly growing list of allies of the YES campaign
- Make staff feel welcome by flying a rainbow flag at your office (literally or metaphorically)
- Show your support on social media.
Other ways to show support
Talk to your networks: Start having conversations with your friends, families, and networks about those great LGBTIQ+ people you know and why they deserve the same rights as everyone else! Australian Marriage Equality Campaign also has some handy tips on talking to friends, family, and co-workers about why equality matters.
Mobilise your neighbourhood: Decorate your mailbox. Get out the glitter and rainbow stickers to show your support. Door-knock or letterbox drop your neighbours and commit to talking to everyone on your street about supporting marriage equality. A brochure is available for download from the Australian Marriage Equality Campaign.
Maximise your social pages: Put a filter or frame on your Facebook profile. Simple click your profile picture and select add frame. Search marriage equality and a range of messages of support can be regular reminders to your network of the strength of those committed to marriage equality. Share posts and retweet information about this vote and the value of marriage equality.
Update your email signature: Show your support in a graphic as part of your email signature.