SMALL businesses are increasingly in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, according to research released this week.

The Sensis Business Index Survey conducted last year found that 63 per cent of small and medium businesses backed marriage equality, a 55 per cent increase from the previous year.

The greatest support came from the Finance and Insurance sector with 78 per cent of respondents supporting same-sex marriage followed by Communication, Property, and Business Services at 71 per cent.

The results were even stronger when business leaders were asked about their own individual views on marriage equality with more than two-thirds saying they personally supported marriage equality.

Chief Executive of Sensis John Allan highlighted that it was important for Australia to know that smaller businesses were also in support of the social issue.

“Much has been spoken about large corporates and organisations supporting marriage equality, and the evidence is now in that small and medium businesses – the backbone of the Australian economy – also support this initiative,” he said.

“Diversity is critically important to the prosperity of our nation and distracting issues such as marriage equality only serve to draw people away from what they believe is truly important, building a future for themselves, their employees, and their families.”

The results of the survey come after reports that moderate Liberal MPs in favour of same-sex marriage will push for a free vote in parliament in the coming weeks.

Reports have suggested several MPs are hoping to hold a free vote as soon as March to get marriage equality off the political agenda ahead of the next election.

When the small and medium businesses were asked if passing marriage equality would have an impact on their business, a major 87 per cent said they thought it would either create a positive change or have no impact at all.

Only two per cent said it would have a negative impact.

Allan said the insights painted a positive picture of business in Australia.

“It is accepted that a business is strengthened by the contribution made from a workforce that harnesses the unique talents, skills, perspectives, and experiences of all its people regardless of age, gender, sexuality, physical ability, ethnicity, or Indigenous background,” he said.

The results of the survey also indicated that 65 per cent of women believed their workforce was diverse and multicultural, while 60 per cent of men said their workforce was diverse and 56 per cent said it was multicultural.

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