Australia: Football club endorses marriage equality campaign

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An Australian rules football club has backed a campaign for marriage equality.

Geelong Football Club – known as the Cats – posted an open letter on its website backing Australian Marriage Equality.

It reads: “We understand that there is a possibility of a future conscience vote on the topic of Marriage Equality in parliament and the Club has been contacted to support the current awareness raising campaign.

“Respect is a core value of the Geelong Cats and as a concept is nurtured. We respect diversity and say ‘no to discrimination’ of any kind.

“We believe that the Geelong Cats is a welcoming place where we seek to engage respectfully with people with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

“We advocate this attitude as we believe it will deepen our understanding and appreciation of others, motivate us to embrace our differences and make us richer for the experience. As a result our Club will strengthen and grow.”

Australian Marriage Equality director Rodney Croome said: “I salute Geelong’s leadership on an issue that is important to many of its players and fans, and urge other clubs to follow.

“The leadership of senior football clubs in combating discrimination will encourage our national leaders to ensure all Australians are treated equally.

“There is strong support for marriage equality in Geelong and we will be encouraging local supporters to voice their views to federal MPs like Sarah Henderson.

“Because marriage equality will be achieved with a cross-party conscience vote, it’s vital that MPs know their electorates are behind the reform.”

Same-sex marriage was briefly legalised in Australian Capital Territory last year, but Australia’s high court overturned the decision just five days later.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott remains an opponent of same-sex marriage, but polls have found up to 65% of Australians support it, with just 28% opposed.

The last parliamentary vote on equal marriage was held in September 2012, when it was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 26-41.