An Australian pro-marriage group has released a new advert showing abusive messages directed at its supporters – as the country continues to vote on same-sex marriage.
The 30-second ad was released by Australian Coalition for Marriage, and features screenshots from social media that accused supporters of traditional marriage of being “bigots” and “homophobic maggots”.
The ad was deemed only suitable for mature audiences by the Australian TV regulator, and ended by saying: “love is love, unless you disagree.”
‘Deplorable human being’
Coalition for Marriage said the rating shows that what some opponents of traditional marriage say is “considered not suitable for young Australians”.
At the weekend, an Australian politician revealed that she was urged to ‘pretend’ to back the yes campaign by her political party.
Labor MP Helen Polley, who voted against redefining marriage, said she was told her view could cost the party votes in the next election.
And last month, Liberal MP Ian Goodenough was called a “backwards homophobic idiot” and “a deplorable human being” simply for stating his opposition to same-sex marriage.
One campaigner has said the abuse that has been received is worse than what took place when Ireland held a referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015.
Keith Mills, who is himself homosexual but opposes same-sex marriage, said: “A lot of the Yes campaign in both here and in Ireland is based on the idea that everybody who’s against same-sex marriage is either homophobic or a bigot.
“And therefore you can ignore their opinions, you don’t have to listen to them. You don’t have to respect them. You can call them names and threaten to lose their jobs, all kinds of nastiness.”
Mills added that the traditional definition of marriage has been “handed down from generation to generation” and “does a pretty good job of solidifying support for the family”.
Another gay man, Mark Poidevin, has also spoken out against the abuse and said: “The comments that I hear is you’re a homophobe if you don’t support gay marriage. Well I’m a gay person that’s coming out and saying no it’s not.
“It’s your right to have a view either way and I think people should be respected each way. You’re not intolerant if you don’t support a view.”
The Australia Bureau of Statistics reports that 57.5 per cent of Australians have already returned their ballot forms in the postal vote – with results expected to be announced in mid-November.
The country is answering the question: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”