Telstra reinstates support for same-sex marriage after backlash

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 18 April 2016

Telstra CEO Andy Penn has retracted the company's stance on same-sex marriage, following significant backlash after the telco company removed support for the cause last week.

Penn says in a statement that Telstra is renewing its “active position” in the support of marriage equality.

“Last week we advised that out of respect for the individual our view had been that we would not add further to the debate on marriage equality ahead of a plebiscite or parliamentary debate.

“It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward and support our view for marriage equality and so that is what we will do,” Penn says.

Telstra was originally one of 663 Australian businesses which gave their names to a series of ads run by Australian Marriage Equality lobbying for a change in the law last winter.

A report in the Australian revealed that the company had bowed to pressure from the Catholic Church and quietly removed its public support for marriage equality.

Archdiocese business manager Michael Diggs wrote to corporations featured in the ad, implying the church would withdraw their business.

"You may be aware that the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney is a significant user of goods and services from many corpor¬ations, both local and inter¬national. 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."

Once the report was out, an onslaught of hate was thrown Telstra’s way with tweets like this coming out of the woodwork:

tesltra twitter

Penn acknowledges the move to reinstate its position on same-sex marriage may “inflame a new debate” but says it’s the “right thing to do”.

Telstra hasn't had a great start to the year, with three network outages. One person says on Twitter: "It's service is as unreliable and inconsistent as it's support of equal rights for its customers."

Do you think Telstra can make a comeback? Comment below.

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