The Victorian branch of the Country Women’s Association has joined a growing list of organisations lobbying for marriage equality.
The association will write to the Federal Government, asking it to adopt legislation enabling gay men and women to marry.
President Machelle Crichton (pictured) said Victoria was the first state association of the CWA to vote in favour of same-sex marriage, although NSW president Annette Turner said the issue could be raised by members at next year’s conference.
Members attending the Victorian conference at the weekend agreed that the CWA “advocates for equality for all Australians under the Commonwealth Marriage Act”.
Ms Crichton said the conversation about same-sex marriage was “respectful and active”.
While the CWA has traditionally been seen as “socially conservative”, she said support for same-sex marriage was not a difficult position to come to.
“It is a very progressive organisation and it has always been at the cutting edge of some of the censorship issues of life,” Ms Crichton said.
“It was a simple majority that voted for it.”
Ms Crichton said she was comfortable with the Victorian association being the first to vote in favour of lobbying for same-sex marriage.
“They’re a diverse group, they’re highly intelligent. We are always fairly advanced on a variety of topics, and it reflects society.
“Some voted for it, some voted against it and some abstained,” she said.
“You’ll see the same people; they might be on opposites sides of discussion on a particular topic, and then a couple of hours later you’ll see them across the room having a cup of tea together.”
Australian Marriage Equality welcomed the decision.
“For almost 90 years the CWA has been supporting women and children across regional, rural and remote areas,” AME national spokesperson Shirleene Robinson said.
“This announcement reflects the CWA’s continued commitment to ensure every Australian has the same opportunities and is able to reach their full potential.”
Ms Crichton said members would decide on practical action to support marriage equality after a board meeting next month.
“Initially, letters will go (out) – that’s our first step,” she said.