An anti-gay marriage advert has been slammed as “scaremongering” by critics.
As you may know by now, Australia is preparing to hold a postal vote on the issue of marriage equality, which has been criticised by LGBT+ activists and their allies for many reasons.
As well as costing the Australian government roughly $122 million, the vote is non-binding, meaning it only gives politicians an idea of what the public wants before they vote in parliament.
It also seems that the newfound spotlight on LGBT+ Australians has caused disturbing amounts of bigotry to surface in the media, and has been used by some as a platform to spread hate.
The ‘Vote No’ campaign aired its first advert yesterday, and it’s generated much discussion on both sides of the debate.
The 30-second advert from lobby group Coalition for Marriage depicts three women expressing concern that legalising same-sex marriage will radically change sex education and that gender-inclusive programmes in schools such as the Safe School Coalition will be damaging to young Australians.
Mother-of-four Celia White opens the ad claiming “School told my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it,” which has since been disputed by Principle John Albiston and the teachers at Frankston High.
“When same-sex marriage laws pass overseas, this kind of programme becomes widespread and compulsory,” continues a second mother.
A third woman states: “Kids in year seven are being asked to roleplay in same-sex relationships.”
Many Australian political figures have spoken out against the ad, including Australian Labour Party leader Bill Shorten, who told Fairfax Media he thought the ad was “offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families”.
Tiernan Brady, the Equality Campaign executive director told news.com.au the ad is “disgraceful in its dishonesty”.
And reaction on social media was just as scathing…
The #marriageequality "No" vote campaign TV ad has absolutely nothing to do with Same Sex Marriage. It is purely scaremongering.
— NickMcCallum7 (@NickMcCallum7) August 30, 2017
— Peter Murphy (@PeterWMurphy1) August 30, 2017
I love that the no campaign's slogan is 'You can say no'. Like, they know you shouldn't but want you to know you can be a jerk if you want.
— Simon Vaughan (@vaughantobewild) August 29, 2017
— jules mikwoo (@JulesMikWoo) August 29, 2017
The tone has been set low for the fight towards Australian marriage equality already, with cartoonist Bill Leak releasing a cartoon that compares LGBT+ people with Nazi troops for The Australian newspaper last year.
The future for same sex marriage in Australia remains unclear, and unless there is a successful court challenge, the postal survey will take place between 12 September and 27 October.