A SMALL-BUSINESS owner has sacked a staff member who came out in support of the "no" campaign in the same-sex marriage postal plebiscite.
Madlin Sims, who runs a party entertainment company in Canberra, said she was taking a stand on the issue, likening it to employing a staff member who posted racist material online.
The sacked contractor was a woman who took photos of events and often posted them on Facebook. "Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel 'it's okay to vote no'," Ms Sims wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
"Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech. Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. As a business owner I can't have somebody who publicly represents my business posting hate speech online.
"1. Its bad for business. 2. I don't like s**t morals. 3. I don't want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.
"It's not okay to vote no. It's not okay to be homophobic. This isn't a matter of opinion or even religion. It's a matter of the love and livelihood of real human beings. Freedom of speech is there for a reason and so are consequences. Vote against homophobia. Vote for equality. Vote yes."
She added that it was a "you're voting no, you're fired situation".
"There were prior conversations had," she wrote. "As a business that works with children of all kinds, we have a responsibility to working with vulnerable people and having someone who is out and proud about their beliefs (of which are statistically proven to have horrible effects on young members of the gay community) is a risk for the wellbeing of the children we work with."
Ms Sims' post has been shared more than 140 times and sparked fierce debate.
"I was reading comments the other day that were saying like everyone is allowed an opinion/freedom of speech etc. etc. but like when did blatant discrimination become acceptable," wrote Squizzy Skeels.
"Those people aren't just having an opinion, they are discriminating against [SSM] and yes it is hate speech to come out on social media and express so."
Rania Yallop said she had "nothing but respect". "Good job for standing up for equality and sticking up for what you believe in will certainly getting my business in the future," she wrote.
John Dale added that if a church could cancel a couple's marriage because they supported same-sex marriage on Facebook, "I fail to understand how an employer should be forced to ignore an employee of an equality employer taking the same (if morally more acceptable) position".
But Lysa Ant said it was "unfair and hypocritical". "Some homosexuals have expressed they will vote no, are they homophobes?" she wrote. "I think you need to be respectful of people's opinion and belief."
Michael Duggan said firing someone for having a different opinion "makes you a bigot". "If I was that person you sacked I'd be finding a solicitor real quick for unfair dismissal," he wrote.
Jason Owen said voting no "doesn't make someone a homophobe". "Lots of people including gay people are voting no because of behaviour like this," he wrote. "Not to mention what's happened in countries where SSM has been legalised. I hope the person you fired takes you for unfair dismissal and wins."
News.com.au has contacted Ms Sims for comment.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics began mailing out the Australian Marriage Law postal surveys last week. All survey forms should be received by September 25, and must be mailed back by October 27. The survey closes at 6pm November 7, and the results will be published on the ABS website on November 15.
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