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Cricket Australia unveils support for marriage equality

James Sutherland speaks to the media ahead of the BBL Getty Images

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has thrown the governing body's support behind a vote in favour of marriage equality in the postal plebiscite being mailed to Australian homes this week.

CA on Monday revealed that the organisation had joined more than 1600 Australian businesses, industries and sports in signing an open letter in support of a legislate change to allow same-sex couples to marry. Other sporting bodies to sign on include the AFL, Basketball Australia, the Football Federation of Australia and the NRL.

"Cricket must be a welcoming environment for each and every one of us, regardless of gender, cultural heritage and - importantly in the current environment - sexuality," Sutherland said. "That holds true whether you are pulling on pads for the first time in community cricket, representing your country, volunteering your time or working for a cricket organisation.

"In 2014, we joined other leading sporting codes to announce our support of the Bingham Cup charter, which seeks to end homophobia in sport and ensure that all sports have inclusive and anti-discriminatory policies. There is still progress to be made across sport, and while cricket can always be doing more to support the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community, we hope that supporting marriage equality will send a strong message to the cricket community across Australia that we are a Sport For All."

A portion of the open letter signed by CA read: "We, the business, industry and sporting leaders of Australia, write to express our support for Marriage Equality. We support diversity in the workforce and recognise the rights of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) employees to live and work, free of prejudice and discrimination, with all the essential freedoms enjoyed by other members of our organisations and the broader community.

"The rights and liberties of all individuals are sacrosanct. They are essential in the creation of a healthy, harmonious and open society. An equitable society, free of discrimination, also allows all employees to function at their best. Australia is a robust democracy however, we support seeing it treat all its citizens equally. Legalised discrimination in one area allows discrimination to flourish in all areas."

CA has struck an increasingly progressive tone in recent years, this year downgrading its alcohol sponsorship so that Australian teams will no longer carry the brand of a beer manufacturer in line with a strategic goal to "develop more socially responsible partnerships". It has also aimed to broaden the game's audience by being as inclusive as possible, also stating in a recent strategy document: "Grow the number of Australians who feel connected with and passionately support the Big Bash clubs and Australian teams."