As a media organisation, we have the ability, and natural tendency, to think broadly about issues. We naturally and easily see issues from all sides; we are trained to consider all points of view.
But on the issue of same-sex marriage, it’s difficult to see why Australia is so far behind the rest of the world in viewing marriage equality as a civil right.
This extreme conservatism will not bode well for Australia.
It was only in 2004 that the Marriage Act was changed by the Howard government, which inserted into the act a definition of marriage as the union “of a man and a woman”.
While the Marriage Act went one way, other laws went in another, less conservative direction. Same-sex partnerships are recognised in Medicare, social security and taxation. And since 2010, same-sex couples can adopt children in NSW. But they still can’t get married.
In 2008, the law was changed so that same-sex partners were recognised in superannuation as well. You can leave your superannuation entitlements to your same-sex partner, but you can’t marry them.
At the bedrock of the superannuation industry lie all working Australians. This is a rare, and privileged, position for everyone who works in that industry. It’s not every sector that has that much reach, and that much heterogeneity in its customer base. All walks of life benefit from superannuation and are affected by it. People who work in that industry may help afford all humans the right to retire with dignity.
Gay and lesbian people are just that, people. As such, they must be allowed the same civil rights as non-gay and lesbian people. Marriage equality is a humanitarian issue.
When hedge fund billionaires Paul Singer (Elliott Management), Cliff Asness (AQR) and Daniel Loeb (Third Point) each trumped up six-figure sums to fund the legalisation of same-sex marriage in New York, they argued it was an issue of personal freedom. While they are fiscally Republican, they are socially libertarian and they could clearly see the senselessness in excluding gay people from marriage rights, from a humanitarianism perspective.
The leaders of both our major political parties, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten, have publicly expressed their support of marriage equality. New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the US all recognise marriage between same-sex partners. Let’s not get left behind.
Vote yes. We will.
Colin Tate is founder and chief executive of Conexus Financial. Amanda White is director of institutional content at Conexus Financial.
Conexus Financial is strongly supportive of a diverse culture and workplace. Like most organisations in our country, it also employs gay people – including its founder.
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