Telstra feels love for marriage equality

Telstra is feeling the love for same-sex marriage once more.

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The telco has bowed to widespread criticism and reversed its decision to back away from publicly supporting calls for the introduction of same-sex marriage laws in Australia.

Telstra faced a backlash last week after toning down its public support for a gay marriage campaign following pressure from the Catholic church.

It changed its tune on Monday, saying that instead of stepping back from the debate Telstra should step forward and support same-sex marriage.

“By renewing our active position, we acknowledge that we are at equal risk of inflaming a new debate but it is the right thing to do,” Telstra’s chief executive Andy Penn said in a statement.

“It also remains very important that we continue to recognise and respect the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue.”

Telstra was among about 400 companies, including the major big four banks and Qantas, that initially came out in support of Australian Marriage Equality’s campaign for same-sex marriage in 2015.

The number of companies has since grown to about 870.

But last week reports emerged that Telstra was toning down its support after the archdiocese of Sydney business manager Michael Digges wrote a letter to several companies expressing concern about their involvement in the campaign.

Telstra reportedly didn’t want to risk its deal with the church to provide services to Catholic schools across the country.

That sparked a tirade of abuse against Telstra from customers and supports of same-sex marriage.

At the time, Mr Penn insisted the telco supported marriage equality but would no longer take part in public debate on the issue.

Monday’s change of heart appears to have put Telstra back in the good books with those who back marriage equality.

“Telstra loves the gays again. Amazing what bad publicity will do,” Reezy Miller tweeted.

Nic Starr welcomed the “about face from Telstra”, saying “I guess we can query their true motivation for the change, or just be happy they are.”

Australian Marriage Equality spokeswoman Janine Middleton said the lobby group values the support of all the businesses that had committed to making marriage equality a reality.

“So many Australian business leaders support marriage equality,” she said.

“It sends a powerful message of their commitment to a more open, inclusive and respectful work environment to their employees and customers.”