Melbourne Football Club and marriage equality

The Ruby Demons recently wrote to the Melbourne Football Club asking it to make a public statement of support for marriage equality.

On Tuesday, MFC president Glen Bartlett contacted us to explain the decision the club has arrived at. As individuals, both Glen and CEO Peter Jackson are strongly and publicly supportive of marriage equality. However, as a member-based organisation, the MFC feels it must respect the fact that its members have diverse views. Because of this, the club believes it is inappropriate to take a public position on marriage equality or the postal survey.

We accept that the club has arrived at this decision in good faith. However, we are disappointed, as we know many of you will be.

Our view, which we expressed to Glen, is that supporting marriage equality is a matter of standing up for the rights of the club’s LGBTIQ employees, players and supporters. We believe it is possible to do this while respecting the opposing views held by a minority of members.

Whether you agree with us or not, we encourage you to share your views with the club and with us.

Having expressed our disappointment, we also want to acknowledge the great strides that the MFC has made recently in advancing LGBTIQ inclusion, including:

  • Strong support for marriage equality from players such as Jack Viney, Daisy Pearce, Max Gawn and Melissa Hickey, and from the club’s senior management
  • Full inclusion of the LGBTIQ community in the 2017 Welcome Game, culminating in a member of the Ruby Demons carrying the rainbow flag on the MCG at half-time
  • The MFC’s pioneering role in supporting women’s football, which has itself helped make the AFL a more welcoming environment for LGBTIQ people
  • The generous practical and moral support that the club has given the Ruby Demons since our foundation last year.

We’ve come a long way together in a short time. We look forward to working with the club as it continues its journey towards full inclusion and support of LGBTIQ people.

Angus Gordon, Katie Purvis, Alejandro Stephens, Deborah Konopnicki, Arjan Singh
On behalf of the Ruby Demons

Angus Gordon