Here’s one excellent tactic in the fight for Australian marriage equality — enlighten the national pastime with a history of homophobia on the issue, then stand back and let them be the perfect ally.
The most convincing arguments come from the places you’d least expect, so when the National Rugby League decided to join 400 organizations to formally support a campaign encouraging Federal Parliament to pass same-sex marriage, people listen.
Even better, players themselves are entering the conversation. Imagine what it must feel like as a gay youth in Australia to see the culture’s sports idols advocating on behalf of marriage equality. Excuse us, we’ve got — ahem — something in our eye.
Rabbitohs star Thomas Burgess, 23, spoke recently to the Sydney Morning Herald, applauding the NRL’s decision.
“It’s ignorant and old-fashioned [to think] if you’re male you can only love a female,” he said, adding, “Nowadays, anyone can love anyone. And people just need to get over it.”
Speaking about his own gay friends, Burgess reasoned, “I wouldn’t want them to be unhappy in life.”
“One of the NRL’s core values is inclusiveness and we have put in place practices and policies to support and recognise the rights of our LGBTI community. Accordingly, the NRL supports marriage equality,” NRL chief operating officer Suzanne Young said.
Burgess also addressed homophobic slurs on the field, saying that players “don’t actually think about what they’re saying. It’s more just a bit of stupidity, really.”
He hopes awareness will help them to “understand that it’s not right.”
“They need to be more educated about it.”