Marriage inequality is driving Australian money overseas with gay and lesbian business owners moving abroad, according Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association (SGLBA) president Mark Haines.
Mr Haines believes that the Coalition is failing to recognise that marriage equality could stimulate the Australian economy, and help many businesses to achieve higher revenue.
“We have seen time and time again same-sex couples leaving Australia and spending their money in New Zealand for example, where same-sex marriage is recognised,” Mr Haines said.
“The reality is the Federal Government’s current failure to legalise same-sex marriage is depriving many businesses of significant revenue.
“Recognition is good for the economy, and helps to stimulate the businesses of wedding planners, holiday planners, and wedding receptions, amongst others.”
Yesterday 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones became an unlikely advocate for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s marriage equality bill when he added his voice in support of equality.
The veteran shock jock delivered a heart-felt speech on his breakfast radio show supporting same-sex marriage, endorsing the views of the same man he called “unelectable” and “bereft of ideas”.
“The reality is this: in a very difficult world, which is often impersonal, uncaring, ruthless and sometimes brutal in personal relationships, love can prove elusive,” Jones said.
“My view is that when people find love they should be able to celebrate it, and they shouldn’t be discriminated against according to the nature of that love.”
Jones’ comments seemed to have a ripple effect in Canberra, where Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared that the issue of same-sex marriage should be brought before the parliament via a cross-party bill only hours after Mr Jones’ comments were made on air.
Mr Abbott announced in Question Time yesterday: “If our parliament were to make a big decision on matter such as this, it ought to be owned by the parliament and not by any particular party.”
Increased focus on marriage equality has been sparked after Ireland’s referendum produced a resounding yes vote last weekend.
Calls for equality has seen politicians from both sides of politics voice their support with Labor MP Anna Burke latest to declare her support taking the number of MP’s in favour to 75.
Mr Haines told The Newsroom Mr Jones’ comments were valuable to the marriage equality campaign.
“Mr Jones is one of the ever-growing number of prominent members of the community who have recognised the need, and voiced their support for, marriage equality,” he said.
But Mr Haines also expressed disappointment in the weight individual commentators, such as Mr Jones, have on shaping important debates.
“It’s disappointing that personal opinion has the power to influence equality in our community,” Mr Haines said.
The same-sex marriage bill will be brought before Parliament next week; 76 votes are needed to pass the bill. – Benjamin Potter
Photo by Jessica Heckley.