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Same-sex marriage: Business leaders including Alan Joyce widely welcome Yes vote

ABC News logo ABC News 2 days ago Michael Janda

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Business leaders have come out in force to celebrate the Yes vote in the same-sex marriage survey.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce led the celebrations, after having been at the forefront of the Yes campaign.

"This is an amazing outcome and we should all be very proud of this amazing country," Mr Joyce told a gathering of thousands of Yes supporters in Sydney's Prince Alfred Park this morning.

Mr Joyce has faced criticism, along with other business leaders, for politicising their companies and throwing their support behind the Yes campaign.

However, in a one-on-one interview with The Business, Mr Joyce said he had absolutely no regrets.


"I do believe business leaders should be out there speaking on social issues," he said. "We're part of the community, we're in a democracy, business reputation has taken a bit of a hit because people look like they're only focused on profitability, you have to have a passion for something and actually a bigger cause."

Mr Joyce was far from alone, with the Twittersphere filled with congratulatory tweets from businesses across many sectors.

"This is a great step forward, a great step forward for a more diverse and inclusive Australia," Telstra's chief executive Andy Penn wrote in a blog post.

"With the greatest respect for the diverse views held, we have been keen to reflect what we hold dear and what makes us who we are as an organisation — and that is a passionate, unwavering support for equality, diversity and inclusion.

"We want Telstra to be a great place to work, a place to belong, a place where people can bring all of themselves to work and feel valued irrespective of their background, race, religion, age, gender or sexual preference."

Even overseas corporate heavyweights have weighed in on the result.

"Congratulations Australia! Another important step toward equality for all," tweeted Apple's chief executive Tim Cook.

Although some business leaders, such as ANZ's Shayne Elliott, took a more cautious tone, even while supporting the Yes result.

"I won't hide the fact I am also personally very pleased the result has gone this way," Mr Elliott wrote in ANZ's in-house publication BlueNotes.

"For many of you, including the very strong Pride Network we have at ANZ, this is an emotional moment where there is now the very real prospect the law will change and the rights enjoyed by others will soon be open to them.


"I know you will rightly want to celebrate — and you should.

"Let's all remember though, for others it's a difficult moment which isn't consistent with their beliefs." Australia's bakers have been caught up in the same-sex marriage debate, with whether or not they should be able to refuse to bake cakes for same-sex weddings used as a common example by those arguing for more religious freedom carve-outs.

However, they seem to be extremely reluctant participants.

The Bakers Association of Australia said they do not want to be involved in the debate but, when pushed, the association's Tony Smith said:

"What baker in their right mind would not bake someone a cake?"


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