Aust Telstra drops out of same-sex marriage debate

Australian telecommunications giant Telstra has declared it will no longer drive further debate on same-sex marriage.

But the company denied it had changed its position on the issue, after pressure had come from the Catholic Church.

Telstra was one of several major Australian corporations to sign an Australian marriage equality petition last year.

In May, Sydney archdiocese business manager Michael Digges wrote to the corporations expressing the archdiocese’s “grave concern”.

Mr Digges told the corporations they had “overstepped their purpose”.

In the letter, Mr Digges wrote that the Church is a “significant user of goods and services from many corporations, both local and international”.

He reminded the firms that many of its “employees, customers, partners, suppliers” would belong to the Catholic faith.

The Australian reported that Telstra had dropped out of the same-sex marriage debate after pressure from the Church.

The company was reportedly concerned it would risk its commercial relationship and contracts with Catholic schools.

A Telstra spokesman told Guardian Australia: “The [Australian] 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.”

“In view of this, Telstra has no further plans to figure prominently in the wider public debate.”

But Telstra stated on Twitter: “Our position on marriage equality hasn’t changed.”

“We place great importance on diversity and stand against discrimination in all forms.”

This drew protest from marriage equality supporters on Twitter, who questioned how Telstra could help achieve change without driving public debate.

Telstra’s logo is still featured on a marriage equality campaign website and it has reportedly not asked for this to be removed.


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