Footballers representing every AFL and AFLW team have signed a petition in support of same-sex marriage to mark May 17’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).
In partnership with the Equality Campaign, AFL players are calling on footy fans to join them in pledging support for a change to Australian marriage laws.
Dyson Heppell, the Essendon captain, is proud to be an AFL player lending his voice to promote a fair and equal society for all Australians.
“It’s great to see players put their signature on the petition and hopefully our support can play some role in creating a more inclusive Australia. No matter who you are or who you love, we should all have equal rights to marriage," he said.
The AFL Players’ Association has been a signatory to Australian Marriage Equality since 2016 and has supported IDAHOT for the past six years.
AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh says the motivation behind this year’s IDAHOT came from the players' desire to build on the awareness generated through their involvement with the campaign.
“The players stand for an inclusive community that doesn’t discriminate on any level, whether it be because of sexuality, race, gender or religion,” Marsh said.
“We’re proud that so many players have put their name to this petition in the hope that their voices help build momentum for marriage equality.
"Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should be available to every Australian. It’s a basic human right – everyone has a right to be treated equally. Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed to live in a country where people are discriminated against for who they love."
The Equality Campaign Executive Director Tiernan Brady said, “The majority of Australians and the majority of MPs support marriage equality. It takes from no one but ensures every Australian is afforded the same dignity and respect. No one will be less married or more gay with civil marriage equality.
“Our national campaign will continue to reflect the will of the Australian people. Our campaign is not going away until our parliament does its job and passes marriage equality.
This year's IDAHOT campaign is part of the AFL Players Care program – the players’ official social responsibility program.
The Equality Campaign is a joint initiative by Australians for Equality (A4E) and Australian Marriage Equality (AME) to achieve a successful parliamentary vote for marriage equality so every Australian is treated equally under the law.
To sign the petition and put your support behind marriage equality, go to equalitycampaign.org.au/equalitynow.
IDAHOT was created in 2004 to raise awareness of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) people internationally. May 17 is significant as commemorates the date in 1990 that the World Health Organisation made the decision to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.