The Australian Services Union is asking its members to make their views known on same-sex marriage so the union can endorse a formal position on the issue.
ASU NSW and ACT branch secretary Sally McManus emailed all ASU members across Australia on March 29, seeking their opinions.
“The ASU Executive which is made up of elected delegates from all the industries which make up the ASU, recently confirmed its support for equal rights for all and its opposition to discrimination,” McManus wrote.
“At the same time [the] Executive determined that it was time for ASU members to endorse a formal policy position for our union on marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
“The ASU … Executive has decided that the best way to allow the broadest possible number of members to be involved in this debate is by asking members to vote on this issue.”
The vote is being conducted through www.SurveyMonkey.com and closes on April 8.
Australian Marriage Equality national convenor Alex Greenwich said it was great to see another union adopting a formal position on the issue.
“This is a great step for the ASU to be taking,” Greenwich said.
“It shows they want to reflect the views of their membership at the next ALP National Conference, and I am sure they are supportive of marriage equality.”
Greenwich called on other unions to do the same.
“The unions control a large chunk of the votes at the conference and we’ll be engaging with all unions represented there to get them on side,” he said.
Other unions that have already adopted a position on the issue include the Australian Workers Union, all of whose delegates will vote in favour of marriage equality at the conference, while the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) has pledged to use all of its votes to oppose marriage equality despite an internal campaign in support of it by SDA members.
Greenwich said the Maritime Union of Australia and the education unions were also big supporters.
“They understand this is an issue of human rights and they have a long history of fighting for people’s rights,” Greenwich said.
Greenwich encouraged anyone who was a union member to let their union know they supported marriage equality in the lead-up to the ALP National Conference beginning December 2.