• Telstra's 2015 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras campaign. (YouTube)
Telstra will revert to playing an active role in the campaign for marriage equality in Australia, admitting it should 'step forward' rather than back in the corporate push.
By
Drew Sheldrick

18 Apr 2016 - 2:48 PM  UPDATED 18 Apr 2016 - 4:24 PM

Telstra has reversed its decision to pull out of a corporate campaign for same-sex marriage in Australia following a week of community anger and boycott threats.

Telstra confirmed the latest change in position to SBS, with CEO Andy Penn acknowledging the significant debate and commentary regarding the company's initial decision.

"Last week we advised that out of respect for the individual our view had been that we would not add further to the debate on marriage equality ahead of a plebiscite or parliamentary debate. It is clear that rather than Telstra stepping back we should in fact step forward and support our view for marriage equality and so that is what we will do," Penn said.

"By renewing our active position, we acknowledge that we are at equal risk of inflaming a new debate but it is the right thing to do. It also remains very important that we continue to recognise and respect the right of the individual to hold their own view on this issue."

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Telstra facing gay business boycott
The fallout continues from Telstra's decision to no longer publicly agitate for marriage equality in Australia.

Last week, LGBTQI business organisations in three states condemned Telstra for its earlier decision and raised concerns about the well-being of LGBTQI Telstra staff. Same-sex marriage supporters also threatened a boycott of the telco's services, many using social media to post pictures of them signing up with other providers.

The Australian newspaper first reported on Wednesday that Telstra had retreated from the public campaign after the Catholic Church threatened a boycott of companies involved.

The Catholic Church also contacted the office of SBS managing director Michael Ebeid and urged him to abandon his public support for same-sex marriage in a letter received last year. Fairfax Media reported that the church contacted Qantas CEO Alan Joyce as well.

Both men are among Australia’s most prominent gay chief executives.