The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has issued a baffling statement on the ongoing marriage equality postal vote, and punters are absolutely livid.
The SSO made its first and only foray into the postal vote fray yesterday, in a move that seemed designed purely to brown-nose their many right-wing sponsors. The statement reads in full:
SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA STATEMENT ON THE AUSTRALIAN MARRIAGE LAW POSTAL SURVEY
The SSO is a highly-respected organisation spanning more than 85 years with members, concert-goers, very generous sponsors and donors, not to mention loyal and committed staff and musicians, all of whom come from wide and diverse backgrounds and opinions.
It has always been the case that the SSO has engendered organisational initiatives and performances that reflect an abiding commitment to inclusiveness, fairness and acceptance and that the company has at its core a commitment to everyone in our community – regardless of gender, orientation, cultural background or religious beliefs – of performing music to the highest calibre for which the orchestra is celebrated around the world.
There is no question that the SSO strongly supports the rights of all citizens to place on the record their views, by way of the private and confidential postal plebiscite and as such, the company does not feel it has the right to take a position and commit our stakeholders to one side or the other and has decided it should remain neutral. We urge all Australians to respect the democratic process of the majority decision, one way or the other, in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation towards each other in a peaceful resolution.
One must ask what the point of a statement saying basically nothing, only in a more insulting fashion, actually is.
And, it turns out, many have, with hundreds of furious comments flooding the SSO’s Facebook post.
Former SSO board chairman Leo Schofield has condemned the statement, saying:
This is a disgrace. Every significant arts organisation in the country has nailed its colours to the mast, every arts practitioner worth his or her salt, every thinking patron, sponsor, audience member supports change. The reason the board, supposedly unanimously, has opted for this course is that they don’t want to politicise music. Utter drivel. Music, even in the pursuit of change, has always been political.
(He also uses the word “antediluvian“, which is pretty great.)
This whole thing is yet another example of the non-binding postal survey needlessly dividing Australia – causing harm to LGBTQIA people across the industries, including, unthinkably, the arts.
Anyway, thanks for letting us know you’re remaining neutral in the face of oppression, Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I’m sure that’s going to go real well for you guys.