Westpac has joined the ranks of Australian firms recognising same-sex marriage.
Australian Marriage Equality announced the major bank was joining the growing list of employers supporting equal marriage rights.
-œThe Westpac Group treats all of its employees equally and we are pleased to join the list of Australian employers that recognise employees in same-sex marriages, Westpac general manager of group people Heather Miles said in a statement.
Westpac will join the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, IBM and recruitment company Seek on AME’s list of employers who recognise same-sex marriages. The decision will also apply to employees of St George Bank which merged with Westpac last year.
Although marriage is not available to same-sex couples in Australia, the recognition applies to employees who have married overseas.
In 2006, former Family Court of Australia Chief Justice Alastair Nicholson advised there was no legal impediment preventing employers from recognising same-sex marriage, despite Australia’s Marriage Act restrictions, as recognition doesn’t change existing laws.
AME spokesman Alex Geenwich said Australian support for same-sex marriage is growing and called on the government to extend marriage to same-sex couples.
-œIf people like Westpac are able to go through their HR policy and change a couple of words to recognise people in a loving committed marital relationship … that’s what the Australian government needs to do.
They just need to change a couple of words in the Marriage Act, it’s very simple, he told Southern Star.
A Westpac spokesman confirmed the bank was already in line with recent government changes for same-sex de facto couples regarding access to partner superannuation. The bank’s previous HR policy did not specify the type of relationship.