The Catholic Church has tackled Australian businesses backing marriage equality, telling them to stay out of the debate because Catholics work for them and buy their products.
Some of the country’s most prominent businesses including Qantas, Optus, PwC and the CBA put their names to a full-page newspaper campaign which ran in The Weekend Australian on June 13.
In response, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has sent stern letters to some of the businesses involved, saying that the advertisement was nothing more than a “cashed-up, activist-driven media campaign.”
Major law firm Maurice Blackburn received one of the letters and shared it with Business Insider.
The letter, written by the church’s business manager, Michael Digges, says “You may be aware that the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney is a significant user of goods and services from many corporations, both local and international.
“Undoubtedly, many of the Catholic population of Sydney would be your employees, customers, partners and suppliers. It is therefore with grave concern that I write to you about the Marriage Equality for Australians campaign.
“For corporations to speak on such issues on behalf of shareholders, employees, clients/customers, suppliers and other stakeholders is indeed overstepping their purpose and is to be strongly resisted. Are you really saying that your very public stand is representative of all these stakeholder groups affiliated with your organisation?”
The law firm has since said its involvement with the campaign “is to ensure everyone is treated equally before the law”.
Principal Liberty Sanger told The Australian: “No one is trying to persuade the Catholic Church to alter their definition of marriage. I take it (the letter) with a grain of salt; obviously they are very agitated with the issue, but it is not helpful to engage with this level of emotion.”
The letter follows the distribution of a pamphlet to schools and parishes around the country titled: Don’t Mess With Marriage.
Here’s the letter sent to Maurice Blackburn in full.