Players representing every AFL and AFLW team have signed a petition supporting marriage equality to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) today (May 17).
The players have partnered with the Equality Campaign to call on footy fans to join them in pledging their support for a change to Australian marriage laws.
Essendon captain Dyson Heppell said he was proud to lend his voice to the campaign.
“It’s great to see players put their signature on the petition, and hopefully our support can play some role in creating a more inclusive Australia,” said Heppell said.
“No matter who you are or who you love, we should all have equal rights to marriage.”
The AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh said he too was proud that so many players had put their names down in the hopes of building momentum for marriage equality.
“The players stand for an inclusive community that doesn’t discriminate on any level, whether it be because of sexuality, race, gender or religion,” he said.
“Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should be available to every Australian. It’s a basic human right — everyone has a right to be treated equally.
“Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed to live in a country where people are discriminated against for who they love.”
The AFLPA has been a signatory to Australian Marriage Equality since 2016 and has supported IDAHOT for the past six years.
The Equality Campaign’s executive director Tiernan Brady said marriage equality “takes from no one but ensures every Australian is afforded the same dignity and respect.”
“Our national campaign will continue to reflect the will of the Australian people. Our campaign is not going away until our parliament does its job and passes marriage equality,” he said.
To sign the petition, visit the Equality Campaign’s website here.
Since 2004, IDAHOT has been commemorated on May 17 to raise awareness of discrimination and violence experienced by LGBTI people internationally.
In Queensland, several events are being held and several councils and organisations are flying rainbow flags to mark the day.