I understand marriage equality is a divisive topic, after all the campaign for marriage equality in Australia has been a long one. I also understand that people are entitled to their own views and beliefs. In this article I share my own opinions and beliefs in a small effort to encourage understanding and progress.
Frankly, the news over the last week had left me feeling many things including both heartbreak and disappointment. Primarily, I believe we should not have to vote on fundamental civil rights (i.e., my fundamental civil right). However, we now have an opportunity to achieve marriage equality and I am optimistic for a very positive result.
The next few months in the lead up to the plebiscite will undoubtedly be difficult for many. In workplaces we talk about creating supportive environments for equality, diversity, inclusion, flexibility, health and wellness, and promoting awareness around mental health. These are such positive and fantastic initiatives.
Changing the marriage act and ending this institutionalised discrimination is not only right but will lead to, broadly, reduced discrimination. Research from the American Psychological Association has shown that inequality has adverse impacts on health and wellbeing. Research has also shown a link between legal bans on same-sex marriage and increased levels of stress, anxiety, lower self esteem and a greater incidence of mental and physical health problems. While conversely, marriage equality can lead to better health outcomes and increased feelings of social inclusion.
So, what can we do? Act with integrity and compassion, continue to champion equality, inclusion, diversity and stand up when you see an injustice. Don’t be silent nor let discrimination foster. Be worthy of trust, inspire through action and help to shape a society with equality, respect and dignity.
I am personally so grateful to the people around the world and in my life who champion equality and who have been so resilient.
I admire companies committed to the Yes campaign, such as Qantas. Alan Joyce has previously said, “Qantas speaks out on important issues that ultimately shape what kind of society we live in (which is the point of economics, right?).”
So, this plebiscite is here and as much as I believe it is inappropriate and the campaigning damaging, I encourage all not to boycott it. Of course, vote Yes. Be proud, be out, be visible, be an ally. Tell your friends it matters.
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