Coalition for Marriage calls for Westpac and St George bosses to retract the incorrect, manipulative and morally bankrupt email that was sent from a staff networking group to all bank employees advising that voting ‘yes’ in the same sex marriage survey “would prevent 3000 suicides per year”. 

It is unclear on what the email based its data, given that there were less than 3000 suicides in Australia in 2016.

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Dr David van Gend said the claim is completely incorrect.

“The claim is at best ignorance, at worst emotional blackmail. Clinically, it is absurd to suggest that marriage laws lead to suicide.

“A gay academic points out that there is no simple connection between laws for same-sex marriage and youth suicidality. Associate Professor Rob Cover from the University of Western Australia observes that the rate of GLBTIQ suicide “has not dropped significantly despite a whole host of other legislative changes and protections, from de-criminalisation of homosexuality, to anti-vilification laws, to institutional anti-discrimination policies in schools and youth recreational organisations.”

Dr van Gend asked, “Why then would ‘marriage equality’ be the magic legislative wand that makes LGBT depression disappear?

“After all, gay couples in Australia have already achieved full ‘relationship equality’ - the same legal status and social benefits as other couples” Dr van Gend concluded.

“The issue of suicide is highly emotive and should not be used as a coercion technique to manipulate employees into voting a particular way on a political issue,” said Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York.

“Also, given that the email went to all staff and was obviously intended to affect the response of staff members to the postal survey, these banks need to consider whether the email was required to have political authorisation,” she concluded.