Bendigo businesses show their support for marriage equality with rainbow posters in shop windows

The window of Catherine Anyon’s bridal business is normally decked out in different shades of white.  

But for the past week a rainbow poster in support of marriage equality has injected some colour into the shopfront.  

The Fifi&Edga Bridal owner is one of several businesspeople throughout Bendigo using their street frontage to signal support for marriage equality.

Other businesses seen sporting the signs include retailers Made in Common and Skin Ski + Surf, as well as cafes Sim’r, The Good Loaf and Old Green Bean.  

The posters began appearing after the federal government announced its optional same-sex marriage survey earlier this month.  

Asked why she was moved to back calls for same-sex marriage, Ms Anyon said the answer was simple: “I myself am happily married and it's not right I can get married, but my friends can’t.”

After a week on display, the poster attracted no concern from Ms Anyon’s clientele.

“So far it's been really positive, I haven't had any negative feedback,” she said.

“If people have negative feedback, that's okay, everybody is allowed to have their opinion.”

The posters are being distributed by Bendigo Says Yes, a local movement advocating for a ‘yes’ vote in the survey. The group’s volunteer coordinator, Tash Joyce, said the debate was an opportunity for business to “treat LGBTQI Australians with the same dignity and equal rights as everyone else”. 

"The debate around the marriage equality postal survey is harming the health and well-being of LGBTIQ Australians,” she said. 

“[We are] encouraging members to support the businesses who support them.” 

It is not the first time Bendigo businesses have banded together for same-sex marriage. In 2015, 21 small businesses in Bendigo became the first in regional Australia to publicly back calls for same-sex marriage.

In March this year, the chiefs of 30 Australian companies put their names to a letter calling for marriage equality legislation; immigration minister Peter Dutton told the CEOs to “stick to their knitting”. 

The marriage shake-up could also offer a fresh take on wedding traditions, like the white bridal gown, Ms Anyon said.​

“Colour is becoming more popular, and the traditional is really fading away,” she said, before adding that rainbow attire was still a fashion faux pas. 

Today is voters’ last chance to enrol to take part in the postal survey.