MEDIA RELEASE: Leading seniors advocate, COTA Australia, says Yes to Marriage Equality 19 September 201719/11/2017Human Rights, Other Seniors advocacy peak body COTA Australia has officially announced its support for marriage equality and reiterated its commitment to ensuring LGBTI older Australians are afforded equal rights in all aspects of Australian society. Chief Executive of COTA Australia, Ian Yates, said the COTA Australia Board had carefully considered the issue and while respecting that across all older Australians there are differing and divided opinions, was unanimously of the view that support for the right of older Australians to marry their same sex partners is consistent with COTA’s aim of promoting, improving and protecting the wellbeing of all older people in Australia. “Marriage equality is a matter of rights and fairness – all Australians, of all ages, deserve to be treated equally under the law,” Mr Yates said. “As the leading seniors advocacy group in Australia, it is important that we declare our support for marriage equality given our commitment to human rights, social inclusion and political equality for all older Australians. “Everyone should be afforded the basic human right to be able to marry the person they love in their own country. “COTA’s mission and values lead us to stand with LGBTI people seeking equal treatment under the law in all areas of community, and to strongly support laws that outlaw discrimination based on gender and sexuality, just as we oppose discrimination on the bases of age, gender, race and disability. “COTA is acutely aware of the struggle that older LGBTI people have faced down the years to achieve equal rights and inclusion in Australian society. Marriage Equality has become an important rallying point at this time for LGBTI rights and COTA supports this. “Many Older Australians will remember periods in which interfaith or interracial marriages were frowned upon and resulted in social ostracism and discrimination. Marriage has evolved as our society has grown and developed. “While COTA has declared its support of marriage equality, we recognise and defend the right of our members to vote how they see fit.” COTA Australia encourages all older Australians to actively participate in the Marriage Equality debate and return their survey form as soon as possible. For information on the survey go to https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/ Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Olivia Greentree 0439 411 774 COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.