“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." © Getty Images

“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.” © Getty Images

As part of their stated desire to make cricket a “Sport For All”, Cricket Australia (CA) became signatories to Australian Marriage Equality on Monday (September 11), a day after people in most of the major Australian cities marched for marriage equality, which remains illegal in the country.

“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,” said James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive. “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 community, we hope supporting marriage equality will send a strong message to the cricket community across Australia that we are a Sport For All.”

More than 1600 organisations have made a commitment via an open letter of support for the cause even as postal votes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics were being sent to homes across Australia, seeking a response to the government’s Australian Marriage Law Survey.

At the Brisbane chapter of Sunday’s rally was, among others, Megan Schutt, the Australia Women pace bowler.

The issue of same-sex relationships vis-à-vis sport made headlines in Australia recently after Margaret Court, the legendary tennis player, slammed Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas, for making public the company’s support for same-sex marriage.

“I believe in marriage as a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible. Your statement leaves me no other option but to use other airlines where possible for my extensive traveling,” wrote Court, who won 24 major titles between 1960 and 1973 including the Grand Slam in 1970, in a letter to the editor at The West Australian. Qantas, incidentally, is one of CA’s commercial partners and the sponsors of the national team.

That led to outrage in the Australian sports community, and elsewhere, with calls to rename the Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open gathering momentum ever since.

“I just don’t understand how what I do with my life or what someone does, who they choose to love and be loved by, how that affects or impacts anybody else,” Jess Jonassen, the Australian allrounder, told Wisden India on the sidelines of the Women’s World Cup 2017 earlier this year in England.

Elaborating on the subject, Jonassen said, “Being in a same-sex relationship and not being able to have that as an option, and I guess, too, one of my closest friends on the team was recently engaged, and knowing they can’t have a marriage recognised in our own country …”

One of the other members of the Australian team to have routinely voiced her support for same-sex marriage and criticise Court is Alex Blackwell, the veteran allrounder.