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Statement from beyondblue Board in support of marriage equality


In light of recent developments regarding the marriage equality plebiscite, we're reprinting beyondblue's position statement on marriage equality from September 2015 below. Please use this thread for discussion and support on this issue.

Discrimination in all its shapes and forms, intentional and unintentional, is unacceptable.

Discrimination is the cause for many people of their stress, anxiety and depression. Tragically, it is too often fatal when people self-harm and die by suicide.

We, the Board members of beyondblue, who are professional and lay people, young and experienced, men and women, straight and gay, black and white, and who are bi-partisan in serving beyondblue, are working to reduce discrimination in our society.

We know the hurt, hardship and loss that such discrimination can cause. We direct a lot of our resources towards ending that hurt and loss.

Our country long ago recognised the incorrectness of discrimination when it introduced the:

  • Racial Discrimination Act in 1975
  • Sex Discrimination Act in 1984
  • Disability Discrimination Act in 1992, and the
  • Age Discrimination Act in 2004.

Discrimination is often based on colour, race, religion, size, looks, sexuality and any one of any other factors. On sexuality, homosexuality used to be a crime; it is no longer. Yet marriage between same sex couples is still not permitted in Australia.

For heterosexual Australians, entering into marriage is a choice they can make freely based on the love and commitment the individuals have for each other.

However, individuals who share the same love and commitment, but are of the same gender, are not allowed to commit to each other through marriage. This is discrimination in the most obvious form.

For those who love, but are not allowed to marry, their sense of loss, hurt, stigma and discrimination is profound.

beyondblue is committed to being an advocate for non-discriminating communities, systems, policies and institutions, because we know discrimination is a significant risk factor for mental health conditions and suicide. Therefore same sex marriage is not a political issue but one of equity; every Australian should have the same rights under law, including the same rights to make the choice to marry or not. The continuation of the current law reinforces that inequity, stigma and discrimination are in direct conflict to the laws and intent of the anti-discrimination Acts we have listed above.

Many members of Australia’s LGBTI community would like to marry in their own country. Many parents, children, relations and friends would like to witness the union of two people in their own country. Allowing same sex marriages will not make any difference to the lives of the majority, including married heterosexuals, but it will make a great deal of difference to those who seek same sex unions.

No law-abiding Australian citizen should be made to feel like a second-class Australian. Yet that is what the current law clearly does.

Most LGBTI people lead happy, healthy, fulfilling lives. However, LGBTI people have an increased risk of depression and anxiety, substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts, and take their own lives at much higher rates than heterosexual people. This is not because of sexuality or gender identity. LGBTI people, just like any Australian, face the same risk factors for mental illness and suicide. What is different is the violence, prejudice and discrimination they face, simply for being who they are. This adds an additional and unacceptable layer of risk.

beyondblue requests all our politicians, regardless of their politics or personal feelings, to understand the ramifications of a law that through positive discrimination causes so much unnecessary hurt, pain, mental illness and worse to some.

A law that is in direct conflict with other existing laws. A law we consider to be out-dated, inequitable and unfair.

The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC


Together with beyondblue Board members:

Mr Tim Marney, Deputy Chair

Ms Georgie Harman

Ms Jessica Dean

Professor Steve Larkin

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO

Ms Fiona Coote AM

Professor Michael Kidd AM

Ms Johanna Griggs

A/Professor Michael Baigent

Mr Paul Howes

The Hon. Julia Gillard

Professor Brett McDermott

22 Replies 22

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi all,

As far as I am concerned, this was always a no brainer. General consensus agrees that love is unconditional. So I can't figure why it is subjected to gender discrimination.

If laws made sense, people would abide by them without question.

I have my fingers crossed, but in all honesty I'm not confident that it will happen. Homophobia is still strong, I'm worried about how the community will feel once it's confirmed by a percentage that Australia has said no. Dan...

Community Member
My youngest son has been in a same sex relationship for 10 years. As far as I'm concerned his partner is my son in law and is part of my family. I would love nothing more than to see them "tie the knot" but I have concerns about where they stand legally should (God forbid) anything should happen to either of them.

I can't say I'm confident about the postal votes results either, like you...I'm just hopeful.

People often say in public what deep down they know to be right. But given the benefit of anonymity what they really feel often comes to the surface.

Empathic, I totally agree. Being denied legal safety is unfair and rather scary. Another way to punish those who love someone deemed to be the "wrong" gender. How can a universal principle be splintered and subjected to limitations ? I guess it is too vast a concept to be embraced by limited vision.

Hey Empathic, in all the many many wasted hours and posturing on this, I have hardly seen this side of the argument discussed. I should have the absolute right to decide who my legal next of kin is, and the thought of being in a situation where my so-called family shuts my partner out of the hospital when I am unable to speak for myself terrifies and angers me. I wish my family were more like you. I don't know if anyone rememebrs that horrible story of the poor guy from England whose husband died while they were here on holiday. The authorities refused to put his name on the death certificate. This country disgusts me sometimes.

I was hoping there would more people posting here in support of gay marriage.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Sophie_M and All~

I would agree with Starwolf that this is a no-brainer. In fact it is so obvious I'm rather stuck as what to say next.

I guess all I can say is that to deny the self-evident fact that all persons should have the right to marriage is to practice discrimination.


I am totally voting yes ! Everyone's words here are so on point.

" I should have the absolute right to decide who my legal next of kin is." TOTALLY !


Community Member

Hey, everyone! I was directed here after posting a reminder elsewhere, so I'll just copy/paste what I said there and add that, to the best of my knowledge, at the time of posting this there is still time!

I just thought that I'd jump on and remind that enrolment for the postal vote is closed after today, so if anyone hasn't updated their details or is not enrolled for some reason, then this is your last chance! 🌈