YMCA Victoria believes in inclusion and equality for all people, regardless of age, gender, religion, culture, ability, race or sexuality. This is why YMCA Victoria proudly supports marriage equality.
The current postal survey on whether Australia should change its marriage laws to allow same sex couples to marry has been extremely difficult for the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. Among LGBTQIA+ populations, research shows exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, and abuse (both verbal and physical) are key contributors to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm. YMCA Victoria recognises this and wants all those affected by the postal survey to know they have our support.
Over the last few months, many have expressed the view that YMCA Victoria, while being a progressive organisation, had not taken a strong enough stance on this issue. Advocating for issues that affect the communities we serve is in line with our organisational values, so the time has come for us to declare our support explicitly and wholeheartedly.
Some of you may not be voting yes, and YMCA Victoria respects and supports your rights to your own opinion. For anybody that might have difficulties with our organisational position, please remember that we believe in equality and inclusion for all. Yes, we are an organisation based on Christian values, but these values will never restrict us from supporting something we believe will strengthen communities and create a more equal society.
Marriage equality is a step towards a more inclusive future for all people. It will mean that in the eyes of the law, a same sex couple’s relationship is considered just as valid as a hetero couple’s relationship. This will have extremely positive effects on the mental health of the LGBTQIA+ community (who today, like many minority groups, suffer from significantly higher rates of poor mental health due to discrimination and stigma) as well as their friends and families who have endured this difficult period of ‘respectful debate’. It’s not an understatement to say that it will be life changing for many people.
YMCA was founded on the belief that all people deserve to be happy and healthy in body, mind and spirit. Knowing that the mental health of the LGBTQIA+ community will improve with marriage equality, it only makes sense for us to support it.
Earlier this year, YMCAs across Australia highlighted the voice of young people on marriage equality through the Why Not campaign. It is clear that the majority of young Australians will be voting yes, and the YMCA Victoria position is another way we want to support them in what they believe in.
Submissions of the postal survey need to be in the mail by Friday 27 October – so if you haven’t voted yet, you have until this date to get to the post box!
YMCA Victoria would like to thank all the people within the organisation who’ve shown their passion for a more inclusive society and who’ve expressed the importance of feeling supported by the organisation they work for.
YMCA Victoria is proud to support our people and marriage equality.