Members of retail union the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) have spoken out against their union leader’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

Presenting a petition of 83 signatures at a SDA Queensland branch quarterly meeting, shop steward Duncan Hart said SDA national secretary Joe de Bruyn’s staunch opposition to gay marriage did not reflect the feelings of its members.

“When I read an article about Joe de Bruyn’s comments I was so outraged, I decided I’m going to do something about this. I knew most people in the industry, and the place I work, don’t agree with this,” Hart told the Star Observer.

De Bruyn shared his thoughts following the ALP’s support of a motion from federal Greens MP Adam Bandt calling for MPs to canvas their constituents’ views on same-sex marriage.

“If I had been [PM] Julia Gillard this week I would have put the issue of gay marriage to the vote, killed the issue off once and for all and gotten on with the business of the real issues the ordinary person in the electorate cares about,” de Bruyn told the ABC.

Hart said SDA Queensland secretary Chris Ketter told last week’s meeting the union was taking its position on same-sex marriage because the issue is divisive and would not help Labor’s cause for re-election.

A motion on Ketter’s address was voted on and passed.

Hart said, however, he believes SDA members are not aware of the union’s stance and has called on other members to voice their opinion.

The SDA is Australia’s largest trade union and delegates make up a strong voting bloc at the ALP’s national conference.

info: SDA members can contact Hart at

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