Australia’s largest telco has just removed its support for same-sex marriage, allegedly due to pressure from the Catholic Church.
The Australian is reporting that Archdiocese of Sydney business manager Michael Digges sent a letter to corporations whose logos were used with permission to show support for same-sex marriage in an Australian Marriage Equality advertisement last May.
In that letter, Digges implied it would withdraw the church’s contracts from Telstra.
Currently Telstra has the contracts for all Catholic schools across the country, and The Australian is saying that it has now backed away from public support for same-sex marriage, as the telco “did not want to risk its commercial relationship with the church”.
“The government has committed to putting same-sex marriage before the Australian people in a plebiscite and, ultimately, it will be parliament who determines any changes to the institution of marriage,” a Telstra spokesman has since responded.
“In view of this, Telstra has no further plans to figure prominently in the wider public debate.
“Telstra has demonstrated it places great importance on diversity and standing against discrimination, in all its forms. Our workforce reflects this diversity.”
This is in stark contrast to previous stances the company has had around inclusion in the work place, including numerous Telstra programs such as Spectrum which celebrate LGBTI lifestyles.
Telstra is yet to ask to have its logo removed from the AME website, however there is no longer any mention of the campaign on its own website.
Interestingly, if the Catholic Church was to leave Telstra, it’s not clear where they would go. Both Vodafone and Optus are strong supporters for LGBTI rights, with Optus even acting as one of the major sponsors for this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras.
There’s more over at The Australian.