COOPERS Brewery has announced its support for marriage equality and cancelled its recent commemorative beer with the Bible Society following a recent public backlash.

Over the weekend members of the LGBTI community called for a boycott of the brewer after it announced the release of a commemorative beer celebrating the Bible Society’s 200th anniversary.

Accompanying this was a video from the Bible Society featuring Liberal members Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie stating their opposing positions on marriage equality.

In response, many expressed outrage in Coopers for sponsoring a religious organisation to make an explicitly political point about same-sex marriage, including many bars and venues that began taking the beer off their taps and throwing out cartons in the bin.

In light of the backlash Coopers has released a video statement publicly supporting marriage equality and rescinding its limited commemorative beer with the Bible Society.

Managing Director Tim Cooper said he was saddened by the impact the brewer’s involvement with the Bible Society had on their drinkers.

“Our company’s guiding principles have centred around respect for others, and, as such, the recent activity surrounding the video made by the Bible Society has conflicted with our core values,” he said.

“Coopers never intended to make light of such an important issue, and would never and did not approve the making or release of the Bible Society video ‘debate’.”

Director of Corporate Affairs, Melanie Cooper, said the brewery has always been supportive of diversity.

“Our company supports marriage equality,” she said.

“Offence has been taken by our recent involvement, for which we are deeply sorry.

“We have consequently cancelled the release of our Bible Society commemorative cans and will be taking steps to show further support for our community, including joining Australian Marriage Equality.”

Many members of the LGBTI community have embraced and lauded the brewer’s apology and backtrack.

Victorian Young Australian of the Year Jason Ball took to Facebook to commend Coopers.

“I’m willing to take this apology at face value, and I thank them for their new found support of marriage equality,” he wrote.

“Personally I did not feel that cancelling the Bible Society commemorative cans was necessary. To me this is not a debate between gays and Christians, because the majority of Christians in Australia also support marriage equality.

“If nothing else the past 48 hours have shown us that when we stand together we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Just.equal national campaigner Ivan Hinton-Teoh also welcomed the brewer’s decision to join the marriage equality campaign.

“Marriage equality is an issue all Australian companies can get behind because it is about love, commitment, family, fairness, and respecting diversity,” he said.

“We welcome Coopers’ demonstrated commitment to civil debate and to reaching across traditional divides.

“In a spontaneous national reaction, everyday Australians stood alongside their fellow LGBTI citizens and called for less talk and more action.”

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