GEIFN | STATEMENT | Supporting Equality for All: a fair go of gender-neutral marriage between equals | Thursday 7 September 2017

ON 17 AUGUST 2017, over 100 faith and community leaders came together in Victoria to better support the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and gender diverse (LGBTIQA+) in our communities. 

Celebrating Victoria’s diverse faith and multicultural communities, Glen Eira Interfaith Network would like to say the following: 
  • Faith has been and continues to be a source of both solace and suffering for many LGBTIQA+ around the world; many continue to cherish their faith community but too many have been forced to leave communities behind due to condemnation of LGBTIQA+ people.
  • LGBTIQA+ from faith and culturally diverse backgrounds continue to face exclusion and rejection from families, communities and places of worship, and also from broader LGBTIQA+ community. 
  • Discrimination and conversion therapy has a devastating impact upon mental health and well-being of LGBTIQA+ people. And we know LGBTIQA+ people from all backgrounds experience significantly higher levels of mental distress, self-harm and suicide than heterosexuals. This will only be exacerbated by divisive debates if the postal survey on marriage equality goes ahead. 
  • Faith and community leaders are invited to recognise how supportive communities help to protect and nourish self-esteem of all its members, while providing a sense of belonging and worth for LGBTIQA+. Let us work together to grow respectful and compassionate relationships with LGBTIQA+ Victorians, continuing development of inclusive faith-based resources, and creating safe and affirmative spaces in our communities for LGBTIQA+ people and their families. 
All Victorians are entitled to live their lives free from fear, exclusion, discrimination, and violence. We call for all Victoria’s communities, including faith communities, to take a strong stand against discrimination in all its forms. Equality in Marriage for all Australian Citizens is a logical, evidence-based expression for the every day.