Coopers – Keeping Discrimination Light

Edit: since this post, Coopers has released two statements on the issue. They have been added to the bottom of this post.

Edit 2: Coopers have now put out a video statement. They are not continuing with the beer discussed below, and have committed to supporting Marriage Equality Australia. I am honestly surprised but applaud the move.

Hopefully we can move the conversation past this and work towards a fairer world for everyone. Equality shouldn’t be a debate, it should be just how we operate as a society. Well done Coopers.

Coopers – they are a beloved Australian beer brand. Revered for their long standing independent stance and resistance to the big players. And now they are supporting the right for Christians to have an anti-gay marriage stance, but not the right for gay marriage; with their”Keeping it Light” beer in partnership with the Bible Society Australia.

The brewery has always been an unashamedly Christian brand. The Coopers Foundation, their charity arm, often highlight that they aim to foster Christian Values. From their 2016 Foundation Report. (PDF Warning)

What that means is unclear when it comes to actual details and it’s a very messy road to go down. So before we do, I would like to make clear I have absolutely no issues with anyone who has non-discriminatory Christian values. I have many Christian friends, as well as friends from many other denominations. I was raised Catholic but my stance on religion is one of indifference. I wouldn’t call myself atheist or agnostic because honestly, I don’t give it much thought.

It’s also hard to have problems with giving a charity who support bible donations. There are a lot of great things in the bible and no doubt it’s helped a lot of people – but on the other hand a lot of it is misused to discriminate. And the more I looked at the Bible Society and connected groups Eternity News and the Centre For Public Christianity, a theme arose around gay marriage.

They are painting themselves as martyrs in the debate. Their websites all host a lot of anti-gay marriage opinion that is portrayed as “we need to all have a civil discussion. Stop being so mean to us because we want to discriminate”. They don’t like their discrimination being called literally what it is, discrimination.

This conclusion from Neil Foster on an opinion piece hosted on the Bible Australia website hammers that home. 

If there is, as seems suggested at the moment, to be a plebiscite on the question of recognition of same sex marriage, it is to be hoped that respectful public debate can be carried out without a polite statement of one side of the case being “shut down” as offensive or insulting simply because it makes a case which some disagree with. In any event it seems likely that Australia’s Constitution protects robust political debate on these matters.

That’s right. We are being cruel to the poor wee darls because we believe everyone has the right to marry whoever they want.

Neil Foster is also pretty open, on his own website about Transgender issues. You may have guessed already, but he is pretty anti Transgender rights too:

Religious groups, motivated precisely by their deep commitment to transcendent values, regularly engage in service to the vulnerable members of the community. They establish schools to pass on their deeply held values and moral commitments to the next generation. They run hostels and accommodation designed to reflect the moral values of their members and supporters.

If our society makes it impossible for believers to undertake these activities, by demanding that they conform to the majority views on gender equality and the new sexual identity politics which requires “affirming” sexual choices that their religion says is wrong, then we run the risk of driving believers out of the public square altogether. In doing so we will be denying the fundamental human right of religious freedom, and also losing the value added to our community by believers who serve the needy.

Again, society wanting to accept people for who they are, and give them equal rights is a society that is unfair to the poor religious groups who want to discriminate.. They are just trying to help… but not transgendered people.

The Bible Society also have this transcript from an Australian Christian Lobby webcast. Without diving in too deeply, there do appear to be many close relationships between the two groups. In at least, The Bible Society is happy to host the transcript, which includes such rock solid points as this argument from John Anderson:

The progressives when I was a student thirty years ago were against marriage— it was “legalised prostitution”. Now they think it is so wonderful so everyone must have access to it. There’s a contradiction there

Those tricksy progressives! He continues saying:

If the law says same-sex marriage is exactly the same as heterosexual marriage the state will have to defend that view. We may not be allowed to put to our kids the way we want them to handle their sexuality. That will be a denial of our human rights.

Treating gays equally is to deny John his human rights. He may not be allowed to put to his kids the way he wants them to handle their sexuality! What the fuck does that even mean?

Patricia Parkinson then tells us that marriage is between a man and a woman and…

It’s not rocket science that kids will do well when there is stability and proper role models.

There is no other way to read that than “gays are not role models.”

The Bible Society can claim these are not their views, and simply hosting a discussion transcript is no evidence of that. However it is clear that the narrative they are happy to support is those who are anti-gay marriage are treated poorly, and thus unable to engage in civil debate.

On their donation partner’s website, the Centre for Public Christianity, that is pushed hard in a series of videos. Avoiding the issue that yes, they are all in favour of discriminating against same sex couples, and instead focussing on the fact that they are being attacked in the debate. You can watch these videos here: 

Coopers supporting the Bible Society doesn’t necessarily mean they are in support of these particular views, and when they announced the beer I gave them the benefit of the doubt. I decided not to take a public stance on the issue but decided to boycott their beers at a personal level… until they released this trash fire of a video that I believe pushes the anti-gay marriage stance under the guise of civil debate (edit: the video was released by the Bible Society. Coopers have said conflicting things about their involvement and the Bible Society is clear on their site that Coopers are involved in the campaign).

This shitty tactic will no doubt use opinions like mine as evidence that they are being poorly treated. But hey, it’s like the old saying goes, “If you have discriminatory views, you get treated like assholes”.

Anyway, here’s the video. Go jump in a lake Coopers.


Statement 1 – where they continued with the “light hearted” debate line.


And Statement 2, bailing out of any involvement with the video. Unsure why that wasn’t part of the first statement. As many have pointed out, there are no names attached to either one.

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39 Responses

  1. Michael Baker says:

    A bit of ‘light’s research revealed that Coopers donates $14 400 to the Liberal Party. In the year that the Libs won general government, that figure was boosted to around $25 000.
    No more Coopers for me!

  2. Imogen says:

    This is Coopers’ statement on the add. TDL – they didn’t give permission for their product to be featured in it.

  3. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the unfortunate expose :k

  4. Rob Bruce says:

    Have you actually watched the video? There’s Andrew Hastie (pro traditional marriage) and Tim Winton (pro SSM) having a civil discussion about the issue with a moderator (who jokingly calls Hastie a “homophobe” and “redneck” which Hastie takes on good humour). That video is the very model of HOW the debate should be had, if we as proponents for SSM cannot engage civilly with those who disagree then nothing will change, only through genuine debate can people be influenced to move position, and that video shows how genuine adult discussion can be had on the subject. The whole thing is about “we can disagree without being disagreeable”.

    • AleOfATime says:

      Yep – I have seen the video.

      If they want to have a reasoned debate, they can. But given the argument is flawed and promotes discrimination for no reason other than disliking gay people; I’m also allowed to call it what it is.

      If they ever find an argument more interesting or compelling than “Marriage is between a man and a woman”, then I’d love to hear it.

      • Kimbo says:

        That is as illogical as me claiming that this petition and condemnation of the ad will encourage fascism or communism. Your position advocates that certain views are “flawed” and therefore should not be allowed to be heard. You’re doing more damage to the marriage equality position than you think.

        • AleOfATime says:

          Show me an anti-gay marriage view that isn’t flawed then. Because I keep hearing that it’s an equal debate but no one has come up with anything coherent to demonstrate that.

          If you don’t want gay people to be equals in society, then I have to assume you dislike gay people.

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you, that’s what I saw and thought when I watched the video.

    • Pat says:

      The way in which the moderator joked about Hastie being a “homophobe” and “redneck” – I felt this was a subtle way of positioning Hastie and his like as the victims and the underdogs in this wider debate.

      To me, it felt subtly manipulative.

      • Philip says:

        Hear Hear, Pat. And it treats a massive social issue in such a light-hearted way. Coopers can back-pedal as much as it likes but it will not convince me. It claims it was not aware of the ad until it was aired. A major brewer not being aware of a major ad promoting its product??? Yeah. Right. It was a very bad ad designed to promote a product. Apparently the Bible Society is closely aligned to the Australian Christian Lobby, which vehemently opposes marriage equality. No, Coopers, you’ve lost me.

  5. Julie Luke says:

    Everyone had a right to marriage equality

  6. Greg Hunt says:

    I wouldn’t want to see any of my purchasing dollars from buying Coopers going to the Bible Society or the Liberal Party so I’ll buy other brands instead. Easy, eh?

    • jack doff says:

      i bet you never did in the first place , idiot

      • Philip says:

        when all else fails and you cant cope with a reasonable point of view, resort to infantile name-calling, huh Jack Doff. (yeah, very clever name you’ve got, too). Ho ho. So funny.

  7. Jamie says:

    Despite Coopers being a renknown local brewery, I’ve always considered it to be one of the worst of some otherwise great tasting Aussie brews.
    Now that I’ve come across this, I know don’t just consider their beer garbage but their hypocrisy noteworthy when considering my next purchase. I dare say a fair few consumers will consider the same.
    Not to mention, does anyone else find it to be a bizarre buisness move?
    I’ve always been under the impression that alcohol and religion didn’t really mix. Im baffled to say the least.

  8. alex Fletcher says:

    I have been drinking Coopers since 1976 I will never drink Cooper again and would never have if I knew there religious leanings. Religion and beer do not mix

  9. John says:

    Id be worried about Coopers losing money over this but luckily none of you have jobs anyway so it shouldn’t affect their profits

  10. jack doff with hipsters says:

    the feigned outrage is absolutely laughable true lefty style its about stifling and shutting down anyone who has a different opinion …..FFS coopers donated and celebrated an organisation celebrating its 200 years ….end of story …..but hey lets get a few hipsters outraged and bingo we have a circle jerk of leftards on social media like flies on shit ……banning and closing down opinions has worked so well for the left around the world lately hasnt it ??? the complete intolerance of the left is astounding …..and im an atheist btw

    • AleOfATime says:

      They can have their opinion all they like. And I’m allowed to call it trash and not buy their beer.

      No one is banning their opinion. They, however, like gays being banned from marriage.

    • David says:

      Who is banning and closing down opinions? And who is feigning outrage? I’m not sure what we are supposed to do if we don’t like Cooper’s approach? How could we express it better that would satisfy you? I’m genuinely interested, as I’m not actually sure what your gripe is?

  11. Ben says:

    What a beat up. There is nothing in that video that says coopers is anti gay or anti same sex marriage. If people really want to get on their high horse and defend the rights of gays how about boycotting halal certified food? We know the proceeds of halal certification go to Islamic schools and mosques that teach real intolerance of homosexuality and unequal treatment of women.

  12. Nick says:

    Is it me or does Jack Doff not understand that lefties are exercising their freedom to spend their dole money on other breweries that do not openly support causes they do not identify with or support, just like how Coopers exercised their freedom to support the Bible Society?

    The difference in this being that Coopers cares about that sweet welfare money those lefties spend on booze and not pulling their socks, and issued a retraction when they realize that it’s the 21st century, people care about marriage equality and are more aware about the need to properly debate issues that do not involve the blind adherence to Middle Eastern fairy tales?

    This is an example of what the kids call “stepping on your own dick”.

    Anyway Jack Doff, classic right wing playbook about left-wingers being intolerant of differing views and even throwing out the “I’m an atheist btw” defence, there’s no point debating you when you’re calling others nongs, leftards, jobless.

  13. Juan Crego says:

    Once a gain the ‘marriage equality’ group is painting itself as the ‘victim’ once again (reminiscent of a so-called religion I won’t mention).

    To make statements re ’21st century people support…. etc. etc.’ and or claiming that the opposition only comes from a small religious minority, is ignoring the fact that many people (possibly the major proportion of our society) tend to keep their opinions on contentious topics to themselves.

    You only need to look at the results for Trump, Brexit, One Nation, Geert Wilders, etc. to see that the only place people really state their true opinions is in the secrecy of a ballot box. I would suggest that many close friends will not state their true position on gay marriage (forget ‘marriage equality’, lets call it what it is) for fear of offending some of their closest friends. However, when it comes to a vote, they will almost always let their true feelings be known.

    A decade ago, I was a 110% solid support of gay marriage. Although I don’t march in the street holding placards, I was very solidly in support of it. However over the past few years, the group has completely hijacked the national agenda, to make it appear to be the biggest issue Australia is facing! Forget about our massive homeless population, forget about the lack of effective support for indigenous people, forget about our drug problems that are spiraling out of control… let’s just make sure a gay couple can legally be called ‘husband and wife’.

    So, now… the LBGT…xyz-whatever group have turned a fervent supporter into a total opponent. Into a person who proactively persuades family and friends not to support it.

    So, in closing… I would respectfully suggest to the marriage equality group, that your ‘overwhelming support’, may not actually translate into numbers if it comes down to a national ballot. Most probably the reason the ALP/Shorten denied the Australian population a say in the matter… LOL

    And for the record, I am a true swinging voter, an Atheist and a devoted follower of Professor Richard Dawkins.

    • AleOfATime says:

      “Forget about our massive homeless population, forget about the lack of effective support for indigenous people, forget about our drug problems that are spiraling out of control… let’s just make sure a gay couple can legally be called ‘husband and wife’.”

      If only people could be in support of more than one cause!

      • Juan Crego says:

        Yes, AleOfATime, I agree.

        However I feel the mainstream media are also to blame for attaching so much focus to this single issue.

  14. Peter says:

    Heard of this festival?

    Feast Festival – Home

    Adelaide’s lesbian and gay culture festival. Three weeks of theater, cabaret, literature, film, visual arts, forums and community events.

    Coopers have been ‘discriminating’ as a major sponsor for quite a few years. Any outrage against them is ill-informed and misplaced

  15. Graham Marshall says:

    To be totally up front and honest, I am a Labor voter and a member of the party, and an atheist.

    Having said that, if Tim Cooper and his family and associates want to support the Liberal Party, the Bible Society or anyone else, well it’s their money after I’ve spent it on Coopers beer isn’t it?

    I think they made a dumb PR move here though. Beer, politics and religion were always a bad combination.

  16. Jules says:

    I would say that choosing where to spend one’s money based on belief is the highest form of free speech. Whatever you believe in. Don’t the Christian-Right constantly call for boycotts of companies they disagree with?

  17. Paul says:

    Coopers have always been long time supporters to a number of charities and events and have a long history of supporting the gay and lesbian community through sponsorship of festivals and events when other large businesses would not. If you are going to boycott Coopers because of the charity’s they have given support to then I certainly hope you are looking at the wider business community at large. Sanitarium is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church (Mormons). Woolworths own 75 percent of ALH Group which pulls in over a billion dollars in profit from gambling. The list goes on – many companies will support charities and events that you wouldn’t go to or lend your support to but you don’t boycott them mostly because we are blissfully unaware about it and continue to support through buying their products because we like them and believe in the product. There is no way I am going to support the Bible Society but I am going to continue buying Coopers because I love the beer and the company. They sponsor many things that I enjoy and participate in from motor racing to theatre and cultural festivals both gay and straight. Just because Dr Tim goes to church doesn’t mean I am going to boycott his beer.

    Graham Marshall is right this is a pretty dumb PR move which sadly people have jumped on, in my belief, in a rather over the top knee jerk reaction.

  18. Bill says:

    Not being from South Australia and having little interest in its politics I was unaware of Coopers’ financial and political support for the Liberal Party.

    I find it an odd decision for a brewery to even choose a side of politics given the potential backlash but even weirder that they’d support the antiworker Libs given beer has traditionally been consumed in far larger quantities by the working classes than the capitalists.

    The anti gay marriage is just the icing on the cake. People generally cut back on alcohol consumption as they age and move to wine. Gay marriage support is overwhelming amongst millennials and they basically are aligning their brand against what should be their biggest demographic. Madness.

    Anyway now that I’m aware I won’t be putting my hard earned into their pockets so they can use it to fund a political Party that would happily cut mine and my mates wages.

  19. Fairdinkum 2 says:

    Those being part of this “snowflake” campaign need to take their victim hood glasses off. The great bible debate were for SSM: Tim Wilson (gay, former HRC commissioner – sensible guy) and arguing against SSM Andrew Hastie (former SAS officer) and it was a very civil debate, what is the problem? They just toasted each other with a Coopers lite – how Australian is that? Coopers neither sponsored the debate nor took a position on the topic. So what if they supported a political party, at least they are engaged in the political debate or perhaps they just want a reliable source of power?

    Anybody who knows anything about Coopers, knows that they are decent people and they just want to make good beer, something they have been doing for 150 years. No I have never worked for them or gained funding from Coopers, but as part of the SA brewing industry I have known them for 25 years. They make a different and I think tasty mainstream beer. In this they look after their staff like a family company can and their staff return this with loyalty. Coopers are a good and iconic Australian brewing company. So shame on anybody who has promoted this unbeer like campaign.

    For my part, I went out yesterday and brought an extra case of my favourite Coopers Pale. While watching the cricket I will enjoy a couple of greenies and will piss to virtually give the snowflakes a golden, Coopers infused shower. Now, go and get a life and raise a greenie.

    • AleOfATime says:

      Super weird that you are going to imagine peeing on me later on. What’s wrong with you? You’re all, “Oh boy, I can’t wait to get home and imagine peeing on some lefties. Ooooh yeah, I’ll be so into that”. That’s real messed up tbh,

  20. Grant says:

    Equality. So wheres the equality for the christian believer. Every other ‘CHURCH’ wants their agenda met and heard yet the longest standing institute in Modern Australia is trying to be shut down, silenced and removed because their values oppose the reality of the message that all these others are trying to PREACH. If all you organisations re LGBTQ, islamic Council of Australia and so on want your freedom of speech then the Christian church should continue to be able to speak their voice also.

    • AleOfATime says:

      No one is saying Christians can’t have an opinion. And I have just as much right to disagree. However while we can voice both voice our opinions, gay people STILL don’t have equal rights. When your opinion advocates that, then I can only assume you are advocating discrimination.

      So carry on speaking your voice. And I’ll carry on calling it discrimination and homophobia.

      This freedom of speech thing is great.

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