Australia’s National Rugby League comes out for equal marriage

The Australian National Rugby League has officially endorsed same-sex marriage, amid mounting pressure on the issue.

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been under increasing pressure following landmark victories for equality in the United States and Ireland.

The Australian Parliament has voted down same-sex marriage on a number of occasions, partly due to the opposition of Mr Abbott’s Liberal Party. However, he is under pressure to allow a free vote on the next bill on the issue.

Ahead of a cross-party bill on same-sex marriage that is set to be debated in August, the NRL has endorsed marriage for all.

Announcing the move, the NRL’s Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Young said: “One of the NRL’s core values is inclusiveness and we have put in place practices and policies to support and recognise the rights of our LGBTI community.

“Accordingly, the NRL supports marriage equality.

“We are very proud that the NRL was the first national sporting organisation to join as a member of the Pride in Diversity Index.

“For the past three years our welfare and education programs have included homophobia as part of our broader Respectful Relationships programs.”

Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality national director said: “We applaud the NRL for its principled stand in support of marriage equality and for its defence of fundamental Australian values like equal opportunity and a fair go.”

“The NRL’s stance reflects growing momentum for marriage equality across all sections of Australian society.”