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Businesses become targets in marriage debate

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
14 August 2017 1 minute readShare
Gay pride, rainbow flag

The increasingly hostile debate around marriage equality looks set to scalp a group of unintended victims, as the Australian Christian Lobby introduces talk of business boycotts.

Lyle Shelton of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) group told The Australian Financial Review that boycotts of businesses which oppose his campaign’s stance against same-sex marriage are “always a possibility”.

However, Mr Shelton admitted boycotts would be a difficult strategy to implement, given the large number of Australian corporates that support equality among their workforce and customer base.

“They’ve got Qantas and Virgin, the banks and many of the insurance companies. So it’s very difficult for the average consumer to take their business elsewhere,” he was quoted as saying.

His comments make no reference to SMEs, though, which by their very size would be much easier for activists to boycott.

If a recent My Business poll is anything to go by, the majority of SMEs are hoping to stay mum on the issue and wait for it to reach a resolution, one way or another.

In the poll, conducted in June 2017 before the postal plebiscite was unveiled, two-thirds (67.6 per cent) of respondents said businesses should not add their voice to social debates.

Yet trying to stay neutral in the debate may also backfire, as consumers look to spend their money with firms that share their values.

“Every choice has a social dimension, and businesses have not just a place, but an obligation to take a position,” My Business reader Free Flight Emu wrote in response to the poll.

“It is their choice how public they are about their choices, but just as they are free to choose, it is the choice of the consumer whether to buy from them or another service/supplier more aligned with their values.”

Businesses become targets in marriage debate
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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