Backlash after the first anti same sex marriage ad airs
THE first television advertisement for a 'say no to same sex marriage' campaign has aired on Australian television tonight.
The advertisement from the Coalition for Marriage - the key organisation behind the 'No' campaign - features Australian mothers who speak out as part of a series aimed at highlighting what they claim are issues that could arise from the proposed legislation.
Cella White, the first Australian woman who appears in the advertisement, tells viewers that her son's school told him "he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it". A second woman then stares down the barrel of the camera and claims that "when same sex marriage passes as law overseas this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory".
The comments are followed by a black screen with text: "In countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose", it reads.
A third woman expresses concern that "kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being a same sex relationship".
The advertisement ends with the caption: "We have a choice. You can say no."
It prompted a mixed reaction on social media with some users calling it an outrage and others expressing their support.
Australian Labor Party and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Fairfax Media the ad was "offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families".
"This is exactly what was predicted when Malcolm Turnbull decided to waste $122 million on a postal survey. He gave the green light to this rubbish," Mr Shorten said.
Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told news.com.au the "ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty".
"The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else," Mr Brady said.
"As they try to divide Australians will continue to campaign to unite all Australians."
Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York said in a statement that "radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs" had started to become mandatory for primary schools in Canada and the UK.
"Every day across the country, on social media, in coffee shops, in mothers' groups and at BBQs, hundreds of thousands of parents are speaking to each other about the impacts of radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs," Ms York said.
"Millions of Australians are now concerned about the consequences of changing the Marriage Act.
"Australian parents have a right to know how a change in the marriage law will affect what their kids are taught at school. The education departments won't tell them. Those lobbying for change won't tell them."
The advertisement will run on all of the main commercial networks and pay-TV stations and is also supported by the Australian Christian Lobby.
"Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids classrooms," the ACL wrote in an online post.
"Changing the marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry will mean taking gender our of our laws.
"If same-sex marriage becomes law, parents will not have a leg to stand on if they don't want their kids taught radical sex education, and gender ideologies."
Earlier, the head of Australia's Anglican Church said he won't be advising its members on how to vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey, but will himself be voting no.
Archbishop Philip Freier has written an open letter urging all Anglicans to "exercise their democratic right" and engage in the debate in a sensitive way.
"Anglicans, like other Australians, have a wide range of opinions on same-sex marriage, supporting or opposing it for a variety of reasons in accordance with their conscience and their understanding of the principles and issues," he wrote.
"I do not presume to advise others how they should vote, though I myself intend to vote no." Although the survey was not binding the parliament would find it hard to ignore the will of a majority of Australians, Archbishop Freier said.
Meanwhile, polling commissioned by same-sex marriage advocates found two-thirds of Catholic Australians say they'll vote yes - broadly in line with polling for the wider community.
The proportions were similar for Australians from other religions, the Newgate Research poll found.
Meanwhile, a group of conservative Australians who support same-sex marriage has launched a campaign to convince voters to say 'yes' in the upcoming postal survey. The campaign features quotes from Liberal and Nationals party elders - including federal cabinet ministers Christopher Pyne and Kelly O'Dwyer, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett - as well as voters and party members.
"There is a very strong case for same-sex marriage within the liberal and conservative traditions embodied by the Liberal party," spokesman Luke Barnes said.
That was reflected in support among party members and politicians as well as growing support within the Nationals.